LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A 3-pointer by freshman Kellie Cook brought the Golden Eagles within two, 29-27, in the opening moments of the second half, but the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team could not get any closer as the Golden Eagles fell to the No. 23 Louisville Cardinals, 84-54 in front of 5,793 fans at Freedom Hall.
With the loss, Tech falls to 1-3 overall while Louisville (2-1) picks up its second win of the season in a game that was much closer than the final score reflects.
Leading the way for the Golden Eagles was sophomore Tacarra Hayes (photo right) who finished with a game-high 20 points - one shy of her career high - and six rebounds. The Lebanon, Ky., native also added an assist, a block and a steal in the game. Hayes was a mainstay at the charity stripe where she converted on 12-of-16 free throw attempts.
Becky Burke led five Cardinals in double-figures with 16 points for the victors.
From the field, Tech shot just 27.9 percent (17-of-61) for the game compared to 53.3 percent (32-of-60) for Louisville. The Golden Eagles were also 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from 3-point range and 72.7 percent (16-of-22) from the free throw line.
The Golden Eagles were hurt in the paint as the Cardinals finished with 54 of their 84 points in the lane.
With just under six minutes gone in the contest, freshman Kylie Cook (photo left) made a three from the corner to bring the Golden Eagles within five, 13-8, but Tech would go scoreless from the field over the next nine minutes before a bucket by freshman Haley Ervin at the 5:20 mark ended the drought and made the score 21-12 in favor of Louisville. That started a 14-7 run to end the half that kept Tech within four points at the break, 28-24.
After Kellie Cook's 3-pointer to start the second half, Louisville inched further ahead and extended its lead to 48-37 with 11:20 remaining in the contest. However, Tech would bring its deficit to seven, 48-41, on a fast-break layup by Hayes less than a minute later.
Louisville took control from there and opened up a 15-points lead with 8:47 remaining before finishing the game on an 18-2 run.
Tech will return to action next Saturday, November 28 when they travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn., for a game against No. 24 Middle Tennessee State.