November 10, 2008

Jasmine White leads Golden Eagles to win in season debut over Tusculum

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- By halftime Monday night, sophomore forward Jasmine White had scored more points (12) than the career-high game (11) of her freshman season. White finished with 18 points and seven rebounds -- also a career-best -- to lead the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team to a 64-50 win over Tusculum College in exhibition action.

Eight newcomers, including seven freshmen, made their debut as coach Amy Brown opened her third season as head coach.

But it was the sophomore White who deserved the curtain call, making her first career start after coming off the bench in all 30 games last year. White was 6-for-11 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and 5-for-7 at the free throw line in 35 minutes of play.

"Jasmine has done that the entire preseason," Brown said. "Every day in practice she has gotten it done. She has matured since last year, and she's only going to get better. She worked extremely hard all summer."

Seniors Allison Price (13) and Meagan Lyons (11) also scored in double figures for the Golden Eagles, who led from wire-to-wire in the fast-paced game.

"Overall, it was a great effort and I was very pleased with that," Brown said. "I was also pleased with the leadership from our seniors. They came out ready to play and ready to lead."

The pace of the game was quick, which also pleased Brown.

"That's they style we've got to play," she said. "We need to get good defensive pressure, we need to push the ball, and not only our guards but our post players running the floor. To do that, we've got to rebound and we did a pretty good job of rebounding tonight."

Vivian Nwosu dropped in a 3-pointer for Tech's first points of the season, and Jasmine White hit another just a minute later to push the Golden Eagles to a 6-0 lead. The defense, meanwhile, kept Tusculum off the board for the first three minutes.

The Pioneers crept back to within 8-7 before Tech went on a 10-2 run to grab control of the contest. Tusculum cut it back to 18-14, but the Golden Eagles outscored their visitors 19-12 over the final 10 minutes to take a 37-26 advantage into the break. Tech's largest advantage of the opening half was 13 points, when White hit a jumper with 1:21 to play to make it 35-22.

Tech maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half, building it to 16 points on a layup by Meagan Lyons early in the period. The largest difference in the contest was an 18-point edge, 63-45, with 3:26 remaining.

Nwosu, one of the eight newcomers seeing her first action, scored seven points and pulled down five rebounds. Freshman Krystal Stirrup had six rebounds along with three points, as Tech had a 33-29 edge on the glass. Senior Blair Bowens chipped in with seven points and five rebounds.

Tusculum, an NAIA foe from the South Atlantic Conference, continued to battle throughout the contest but could never slice the lead into single figures after halftime. The Pioneers were led in scoring by Staci Hicks and Shantae Shank with 13 points each. Ashli Oliver added nine, while point guard Jasmine Parker had six points, five rebounds and six assists.

With their exhibition contest behind them, the preseason is nearly finished as the Golden Eagles open the regular season schedule Saturday night by hosting the University of Louisville Cardinals. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. CST in Eblen Center, with a men's game to follow.

Tickets for the game, as well as 2008-09 season tickets, are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940.