Appy State upsets Lady Buccaneers

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY -- The East Tennessee State Lady Buccaneers wouldn't make very good security personnel. They haven't been guarding very well.
   ETSU's defense was definitely a weakness in the Buccaneers' 87-79 upset loss to the Appalachian State Lady Mountaineers Saturday afternoon.
   "They just outplayed us," ETSU head coach Karen Kemp said. "They shot the ball extremely well. We knew who their shooters were, we knew who their penetraters were, and we didn't do the job out there defensively."
   The Lady Mountaineers shot 45 percent from the field, while ETSU only shot 39 percent.
   ETSU is one of the highest scoring teams in the Southern Conference, but they are also giving up more points than most teams in the league.
   "If we don't score 80-plus points it doesn't seem like we can win," Kemp said. "We're going to give up 75 or 80 points, and that can't happen.
   "You win championships by having a good defensive team, and not necessarily by having a great offensive team. We just have to get that in our heads. We've got to step it up on the defensive end because we can score. We're going to put points on the board, but that's an area we're definitely going to focus on the next couple of days."
   ETSU guard Erin Thurman, who scored 23 points and hit six three-pointers, believes that the team is going to have to play better on defense.
   "We were very flat today," Thurman said. "I didn't feel like we had any intensity on defense. We've got to pick it up. We just can't come out and beat Chattanooga (the preseason favorite in the Southern Conference), and play Georgia Southern tough, then let teams we need to beat come in here and beat us."
   Thurman definitely came up big in the second half, as she was making three-pointers from NBA range.
   But they weren't enough to prevent the Bucs from getting the loss. The game was tied at 41-41 at halftime, but Appalachian dominated the second half. The Lady Mountaineers held an 80-67 lead with 3:51 to go, and never looked back.
   The Lady Bucs were also beat on the boards in this contest. Appalachian State outrebounded ETSU 47-38.
   "They killed us," Kemp said. "They watched tape, and blocking out is an area that has killed us the last few games. We've got to block out."
   One player that Kemp was extremely happy with on the defensive side was former Unicoi County standout Crystal Cochran. The freshman didn't score, but she did exactly what Kemp wanted her to do.
   "Defensively, she does a great job," Kemp said. "Every day in practice, even when we put her in the games she does a super job defensively. I've been telling her that she has to start working on her offensive game, so that she will get more minutes."
   Ashley Reed scored 18 to add to the Lady Buc attack. Jaymi Wilson poured in 21 to top Appalachian State.
   The Lady Bucs will look to bounce back Tuesday at the College of Charleston.