In front of an embarrassingly slow crowd consisting of die-hard ‘Cat fans and ETSU travelers, Humphries, who is filling in at the point guard spot for the injured senior Micah Harvey (who is expected to be back next week, lead a group of four ‘Cats that finished in double figures. Humprhies, who is still recovering from a knee injury that forced her to miss most of last season. scored a career-high 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor and also pulled down a new personal best eight rebounds, while still dishing out four assists. Using her quick hands and feet, and her ability to get to the basket, Humphries utilized four steals and 11 trips to the charity stripe (8-of-11) to help speed up the game in UC favors.
"Treasure is just a player," said head coach Laurie Pirtle of Humphries, who will play her junior combo guard at both the point and two positions during the season. "She is handling the point very well and did so under a lot of pressure tonight." UC, which improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2001-02, also got double-figure scoring performances from Michelle Jones (13), Anne Stephens (12) and Karen Twehuesl (11). Tweheus helped emphasize a part of the Bearcat attack that was lacking during the Bearcats season-opening victory over St. Francis (PA): the three-point shot. After making just one shot from distance in their season opener, the Bearcats were slightly more active from behind the arc last night, sinking 4 of their 7 shots. While still modest, the high percentage is a welcome change from the 1-for-12 effort on Saturday.
While seeing solid performances from the Bearcat veterans such as Humprhies, Stephens and Twehues take charge was key, the play of UC's stellar freshman class has also been a welcome asset for a team looking to its younger players for serious contributions. Through two games Jones and Shelley Bellman have been the two most dynamic of the ‘Cats "Fab Five". Jones, who scored 10 points in her collegiate debut off the bench, tallied an ever-growing career-high total of 13 points while pulling down four offensive rebounds. Bellman, the 5-10 guard-forward hybrid, showed her diversity on Wednesday night pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds. Bellman, who led for the Bearcats with 15 points during the season opener (and averaged better than 18 during the preseason), managed only three points and looked frustrated on times on offense. However, her proclivity to stay focused and take charge early on in her promising collegiate career saw her contribute in other ways, such as on the glass and on defense (two steals).
B.J. Banjo led ETSU (1-1) with 14 points and Candace Gibson, Michele DeVault and Kelly Turman all added 10. Gibson, who also came down with nine rebounds, scored all of her points in the second half.
The 82 points scored by the Bearcats was the most since an 83-51 win over Eastern Kentucky on Jan. 4, 2004. UC shot 47 percent for the game and made 24-of-31 free throws (.774). ETSU made just 23-of-63 field goals (.365) and 4-of-20 three-pointers.
Though sluggish in the second half at times, the UC first half was one of the most productive in the team's recent history. The 46 points was the most scored in a half by the Bearcats in almost exactly two years when they put up 59 and then 46 points respectively in the two halves of a 105-60 win over Charleston Southern (11/25/ 2003).
Taking shouted out orders/commands from the sidelines likes soldiers in boot camp, the Bearcats were tenacious on defense from the start. The Bearcats utilized their pressing style, quick hands and transition offense to jump out to an early 13-0 run to start the game. The frustrating UC defense had their way the Buccaneers on defense, but many of the ETSU miscues were self-inflicted. ETSU missed its first eight shots and committed five turnovers in the first six minutes.
The Bearcats will return to the home court Saturday afternoon for a matinee session against Detroit at 5 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena. The game will conclude UC's three-game season-opening homestand to kickoff the 2005-06 campaign.