BOONE, N.C. (Nov. 21, 2011) – On a night when Appalachian State unveiled its 2010-11 Southern Conference regular season championship banner, the Mountaineers weren’t going to let Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) and the Lady Bucs ruin their home opener.
Pickwell, who was celebrating her 22nd birthday, scored 23 points but it wasn’t enough to lift ETSU past the Mountaineers, as Appalachian State defeated the Lady Bucs, 89-65, on Monday night inside the Holmes Center.
With the loss, the Lady Bucs dipped to 0-4 to start the year, marking their longest losing stretch since the 2007-08 season. The Mountaineers, who went 11-1 at home in 2010-11, improved to 2-1.
“Turning the ball over has been our Achilles this season and it showed again tonight,” said head coach Karen Kemp. “I was pleased with our effort at the start as we came out energized and ready to play, but it seemed our bubble burst in the second half when Appalachian State made its run. Anytime you turn the ball over 34 times and give up 31 offensive rebounds in any game – especially on the road – it’s never going to be easy to win.”
The Lady Bucs opened up strong as they hit eight of their first 13 shots and led 21-12 after Brianna Bogard (Georgetown, Texas) found Amy Duke (Hendersonville, Tenn.) open for a fast-break lay-up at the 13:46 mark. Pickwell fueled the run as she hit three of ETSU’s four three-point field goals made in the opening five minutes, twelve seconds, giving the Blue and Gold the early cushion.
Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) added to the Lady Buccaneer lead when she nailed the team’s fifth three-pointer of the half to put ETSU up 10, but then the wheels came off in a hurry for the Blue and Gold.
Appalachian State quickly mounted a 25-6 run over the next six minutes, six seconds to regain a 39-30 lead, forcing coach Kemp to burn a 30-second timeout after Anna Freeman laid one in at the 5:31 mark. The Mountaineers pushed their lead to as many as 11, but ETSU regained its composure to cut the deficit to five at the half, 47-42.
Despite shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and going 5-of-6 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes, ETSU still trailed as 16 turnovers doomed the Lady Bucs. The Mountaineers, who shot 44.4 percent from the field and went 3-of-4 from three, scored 18 points off those miscues. ETSU was also dominated on the boards in the first half as Appalachian State held a plus-13 margin, 25-12, and scored 20 points off 16 offensive rebounds.
Just like in the first half the Lady Bucs came out focused and energized to start the second, as ETSU used a 6-1 run in the opening four minutes, two seconds to erase its six-point halftime deficit and tied things at 48.
Unfortunately, ETSU was unable to take the lead from that point forward as the Lady Bucs ran out of gas after traveling over 2,500 miles during a four day span.
The Mountaineers were put into the bonus with a little over 12 minutes left and Appalachian State took advantage of their plus-17 advantage in free throw attempts.
With the Lady Bucs trailing by five, Appalachian State went to the free throw line 14 times and forced ETSU to turn the ball over 14 times in the final twelve minutes, forty seconds to break the game open and walk away with the 24-point non-conference win.
However, the Blue and Gold only trailed by six after Pickwell sank one of her four three-pointers with 11:25 remaining, but ETSU wasted four possessions over the next two minutes to cut into the Mountaineer lead.
From there, that’s when Appalachian State took over and used a 16-4 run to see its lead balloon to 18, 75-57, after Courtney Freeman scored two of her 15 points with 6:29 showing on the clock. The Mountaineers eventually saw their lead soar to 25 and posted their third consecutive win over the Lady Bucs.
ETSU was held to only nine made field goals in the final 20 minutes and shot 40.7 percent for the game (22-54), while Appalachian State shot 41 percent (32-78).
But the story of the contest was the differential in turnovers and rebounding.
Appalachian State forced the Lady Bucs to turn the ball over 34 times and scored 36 points off those mistakes. In addition, the Mountaineers out-rebounded ETSU by 20, 54 to 34, and scored 33 second-chance points (31 offensive rebounds).
In total, the Mountaineers had five players score in double figures as Anna Freeman and Maryah Sydnor each finished with 20 points.
The Lady Bucs will now celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and return to action on Saturday afternoon when ETSU hosts Middle Tennessee State. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.