December 30, 2009

Golden Eagles stay perfect at home with 94-62 win over Bluefield

Five score in double digits including two with double-doubles

COOKEVILLE, Tenn – Double-doubles from sophomores Tacarra Hayes and Krystal Stirrup led a balanced attack to lift the Tennessee Tech women’s basketball team to a 94-62 victory over Bluefield College Wednesday night in Eblen Center.

Hayes (shown leading the fast break) notched her first career double-double with 18 points and 10 assists and also made seven steals while Stirrup had the second double-double of her career with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

With the victory, the Golden Eagles closed the 2009 portion of their schedule with a 6-5 overall record, the most wins by a TTU women’s squad in November-December since the 2005-2006 season. The Golden Eagles also remained unbeaten at home with a 5-0 record.

Five Golden Eagles reached double figures in the scoring column as Tech produced its highest point total under first-year head coach Sytia Messer. In addition to Hayes and Stirrup, sophomore Rachel Glidden scored 16, freshman Kellie Cook had 14 and her twin sister, freshman Kylie Cooke, finished with 10.

A couple of large runs in the first half and a 30-11 rebound advantage helped the Golden Eagles establish a double-digit lead and open it to a 50-32 margin at half-time.

After Bluefield tied the contest at 5-5 at the 16:35 mark, Hayes and Glidden ignited a 15-5 stretch that put the Golden Eagles on top 20-10. Hayes scored seven in the run and Glidden hit a pair of 3-pointers.

Bluefield scored back-to-back baskets by Brittney Whaley and De’Arra Darling to pull within eight points, 26-18, but the Golden Eagles answered with a 15-4 burst which included a pair of 3-pointers by Stirrup.

Tech’s lead hit 30 points for the first time with 14:07 to play on a lay-up by Hayes. The largest lead of the night was 34 points, the final time coming with 2:18 remaining on a jumper by freshman Katherine Barker.

Tech shot 43.7 percent (31-for-71) from the field including 40.9 percent (9-for-22) from long range. The Golden Eagles finished with a 52-30 rebound advantage.

Bluefield finished with 38.2 percent (21-for-55) accuracy from the field and 41.7 percent (5-for-12) from the arc.

In addition to the five players in double figures, freshman Tiarra Hopper added eight points and 11 rebounds and sophomore Simone Rutledge had six points and five rebounds.

Whaley topped Bluefield (8-5) with 15 points while Kia Gilliard added 12 points. Holly Hudson and Darling each scored seven.

With the changing of the calendar on the kitchen wall also comes a turn in the basketball schedule for the Golden Eagles, who plunge into Ohio Valley Conference play in earnest with 17 of their final 18 contests coming against league opponents.

Already 1-0 in conference play, the Golden Eagles head to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to face Southeast Missouri on Saturday night, followed by a Monday night game at Eastern Illinois in Charleston, Ill.

Messer’s squad returns to Eblen Center in a week, hosting Morehead State on Thursday, Jan. 7, in a 5:30 p.m. tilt to start the OVC doubleheaders.

The Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center opens Monday, and tickets for all remaining home games are on sale. The ticket office is open regular business hours (8 a.m. to noon and 1-4:30 p.m.) Monday through Friday, and one hour before tipoff on weekend gamedays. Tickets can also be ordered by calling (931) 372-3940 or on the Internet at TTUsports.com.