Lady Bucs conquer Tusculum

  JOHNSON CITY--The first home contest of the 2004-05 East Tennessee State Lady Buccaneers (2-1) season saw Division II Tusculum College, of the South Atlantic Conference, (1-3) visit Memorial Center on Monday evening.
  And it quickly turned out to be the Tiffani Mayes show, as the 6-foot-2 senior forward, who finished with 24 points on the evening, compiled a double-double near the mid-point of the first half, sending the Lady Bucs well on their way to the 77-61 victory.
  "Well we were shocked when we got the final box," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "I thought it was a pretty quiet 24 points from Tiffani. But that's what we need from her every night are performances like that with double-doubles."
  "I was very proud of the effort from the girls tonight. We played hard and with a lot of enthusiasm in our home opener," continued Kemp.
  The Lady Pioneers from Greeneville jumped out to an early 6-2 lead before seeing Mayes, who also added 15 rebounds, four shy of her career-high 19 in the contest, take over by pouring in three consecutive field goals to put ETSU up 18-12 at the 11-minute mark of the opening half.
  That six-point margin was the closest Tusculum was from breaking even with the home-standing Lady Bucs.
  Tusculum had closed the gap in the final minute of the half to 10, 31-21. However, Mayes hit a turn-around jumper from 10 feet to put East Tennessee up 33-21 at the break.
  Although Mayes received much of the spotlight in the first half, as she drained 16 points in the period, a glimpse of the future hit the court inside the Memorial Center, as halfway through the second half Kemp inserted five members of her prized freshmen class that held their own, as the Lady Bucs outscored Tusculum 44-40 throughout the second half.
  Alisha Holmes, of Orangeburg, S.C., played 12 minutes, while Jenny Norman tallied 15 minutes. Nichelle Akers, Kelly Turman, and Michelle DeVault played for 13, and Angela Estes was in the game for eight minutes.
  DeVault, the 5-11 guard/forward from Columbus, Ohio, performed the best of the bunch, as she scored seven points on two-of-seven from the field, while grabbing two rebounds.
  "It's definitely been a big transition," said DeVault of the jump from high school to college. "But with five other freshmen it makes it easier because you're not in it alone."
  "It all helps having our great leaders out on the court like BJ (Banjo) and Brooke (Wilhoit), giving us encouragement and telling us what to do. That's definitely a big factor with us having such a young team," said DeVault, who played this summer with Ohio State star Michelle Munoz.
  "This game was a great chance for our freshmen to get some experience," said Kemp. "After this one it doesn't get any easier for us, jumping in the fire against Temple (the reigning Atlantic 10 champions), and Old Dominion (on Nov. 30)."
  "We've got some film on Temple, but we haven't started breaking them down yet. That'll be first thing in the morning. We have a day off tomorrow, and we come back Wednesday preparing for them," said Kemp of the return trip by the Lady Owls. Last year, the Lady Bucs traveled to Philadelphia for their season opener, a contest ETSU lost 68-46.
  The Lady Owls are on a southeast swing that will also see them visit Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday afternoon, as they take on the nation's number one team, Tennessee.
  Tip-off for the match-up against Temple is slated for Friday evening at 7 at the Memorial Center.