Lady Bucs dealt first home loss

By Seth Bartee
STAR Correspondent
It's now been nine straight losses for the Lady Bucs (8-9, 8-4 SoCon) against Furman (10-8, 7-4 SoCon) as they lost 80-68 Monday for their first loss at Memorial Center this season.
If there were any bright spots for ETSU, it was the play of Kiya Verdell, who only missed her career high by one basket -- scoring 27 on the evening. Tiffany Mayes had 19 rebounds, a career and Southern Conference high this year.
"I was very disappointed," said Verdell. "You can't let the other team go to the line and hit 24 free throws. We only hit 8 of 18 free throws -- those make a difference."
The story was the second half as the Lady Paladins broke out with a 15-0 run and stopped any chance of ETSU extending its home winning streak to eight games.
"The biggest difference was the freshman and sophomores," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "We had a game plan of getting the ball up the court to break their press. They did not execute that in the second half. They rushed passes up the court- Furman took advantage."
The Paladins hyped-up pressure defense caused 22 Buccaneer turnovers, allowing ETSU to be outscored 43-31 in the second half.
"Both teams had nearly the same amount of offensive rebounds," said Kemp. "But they made theirs, drew fouls and we did not."
Nine of eleven Furman players came off the bench to score. They were led by Deshara Shealey and Jen Nadalin, both scoring 18 points apiece.
"This was a better team than we faced on Dec. 1," said Furman head coach Sam Dixon. "I knew we were going to have to come in here and work for this win. I told my team at halftime that they were going to have to play better defense. With one player having 17 first-half points, we were lucky to be tied at halftime."
In the first half Verdell dominated with 17 points while hitting 3-of-7 from 3-point range. The Lady Bucs outrebounded the Lady Paladins and kept their turnovers to a minimum, easily breaking the Paladin press.
"Next time we are going to come out and win," said Verdell. "We are not going to lose another game on this court. We are going to beat Chattanooga Saturday, so they better be ready."
With this loss ETSU still remains atop the leaders in the SoCon. It will remain in third place, just behind league leader UT-Chattanooga and Davidson.
UTC comes to Johnson City Saturday to face the Lady Bucs at 1 p.m.