COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - A little over a week ago, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team was in Clarksville, Tenn., to play its final road contest of the regular season against Austin Peay. On Tuesday, the Golden Eagles will make a return trip for the first round of the OVC Tournament with a trip to Nashville on the line.
After finishing the regular season with a 14-15 record overall and 8-10 mark in conference, the Golden Eagles found themselves in a tie for fourth place in the final OVC regular season standings with UT Martin, Eastern Kentucky and Murray State. After all the tie-breaking scenarios were sifted through, Tech wound up with the sixth seed in the tournament and a match-up with No. 3 Austin Peay.
The winner of the TTU/APSU game will face the winner of No. 2 Morehead State and No. 7 Murray State at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Friday, March 5.
Tech has picked the right time to get on a roll, winning five of the team's last six games. The Golden Eagles only loss during that span came in TTU's last game against Austin Peay.
In that game, Tech held a 21-point lead in the first half as the team out-rebounded Austin Peay (12-17, 11-7 OVC) by 11 boards. After halftime, APSU clawed its way back in the game and, thanks in part to a 13-rebound advantage, earned a 78-70 victory after outscoring the Golden Eagles 51-28 in the second half.
Since that time, TTU has earned a pair of home wins against SIU-Edwardsville and Jacksonville State to record 14 regular season wins, the team's most since the 2005-06 seasons when Tech finished 23-9 under then-head coach Bill Worrell.
Over Tech's last six games, the Golden Eagles are out-scoring opponents by an average of 12.7 points per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field. The Golden Eagles have also made 47 3-pointers over that span, 19 more than their opponents combined.
Sophomore Tacarra Hayes enters the Golden Eagles' Tuesday showdown as the team's leader in scoring (17.0 ppg), rebounding (5.9 rpg), assists (4.4 apg) and steals (1.8 spg). Hayes scored a then-career-high 39 points in TTU's first game against Austin Peay this season at the Eblen Center. Since then, Hayes topped that mark with a 41-point outburst versus Tennessee State to set the program record for points in a game by a guard.
Also chipping in lately for the Golden Eagles have been sophomore Rachel Glidden and freshman Tiara Hopper.
Glidden has made 48 trifectas this season and has made at least one 3-ball in each of the teams last 11 games. Glidden has scored in double-figures in four of Tech's last five games, including Saturday against Jacksonville State when she poured in 14 points.
Hopper is averaging 10.8 points per game over her last eight contests -- well above her season average of 7.0 ppg. Hopper put in a team-high 14 points and added eight rebounds in Tech's win over SIU-Edwardsville and followed that up with 12 points and eight boards against JSU.
The Lady Govs have three players averaging more than 10.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Ashley Herring leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game with 5.1 rebounds. Jasmine Rayner averages 10.4 points and 7.3 rebounds, while Nicole Jamen averages 10.1 points and 8.1 boards.
Tuesday's game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off at the Dave Aaron Arena. It can be heard in its entirety locally in Cookeville on AM 1400 WHUB or through Teamline by dialing 1-800-846-4700 and entering TTU's team code (0654) or by visiting teamline.cc. Roger Ealey will call the game, beginning at 5:15 p.m. with the pregame show.
Live stats will be available through Austin Peay's athletics Web site, apsugovernors.com, and the game will be Web streamed on ovcsports.tv.