Lady Bucs spill Western Carolina

from staff reports
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Despite a strong 11-5 start in the first five minutes of the game, Western Carolina could not hang on to the lead long as East Tennessee State came back to defeat the Catamounts 75-67 Monday night in Southern Conference women's basketball action.
WCU falls to 4-10 on the season and 3-4 in the league, while ETSU improves to 6-8, 6-3.
Western's 11-5 start was fueled by senior Yoneko Allen's two baskets from 3-point range. But two buckets by Jessica Lonon brought the Bucs within two points. ETSU took its first lead of the game at 14-13 on a shot by Holly Moring from beyond the arc.
WCU took the lead back four times and the game was tied four times before the Bucs gained the advantage back for good after two made free throws by Candace Gibson with four minutes remaining in the first half. East Tennessee took a 35-27 lead into the locker room, although the Catamounts had the slight 19-18 advantage on the boards in the half.
 ETSU roared out to a 9-0 run to start the second period, sparked by Tiffani Mayes with four points. Junior Jennifer Gardner squeezed the Bucs' lead to 10 at the 13:25 mark on a made free throw. Western cut East Tennessee's lead to 10 on three more occasions before Kiya Verdell stretched it back to 17 with a trey at 7:19.
The Cats fought hard to gain momentum in the final two and a half minutes as junior Lori Tanner hit two free throws to make the score 70-63 in favor of the Bucs. However, that's as close as Western would get to tying it up. Freshman Erin May put in a layup with five tics left on the clock for the final score of 75-67.
Gardner posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Catamounts, adding an assist and a steal in 20 minutes of play. Tanner also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards, while senior Tiffany Hamm chipped in 11 points and four rebounds.
Senior Christy Blackwell tied a season-high five assists with three of them coming in the first three minutes of the game during Western's 11-5 run.
The Cats shot 40.4 percent from the field and just 25 percent from 3-point range as well as 59.3 percent from the charity stripe. The team did, however, dish out a season-high 18 assists and outrebounded the Bucs, 37-32.
Verdell led the field with 22 points, a season-high for the senior. B.J. Banjo contributed 17 for the Bucs, which was a career-high for the sophomore.
Mayes and Lonon added 12 and 10 points, respectively, while Lauren Trantham led the Bucs with seven boards. ETSU shot 48 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from 3-point range and 72.4 percent from the free throw line.
ETSU will host Appalachian State at 1:00 pm on the 17th.