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March 2, 2010

Golden Eagles fall in OVC Tournament first round to defending champion Austin Peay

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team ran into a roadblock on Tuesday evening as the Golden Eagles fell to defending OVC Tournament champion Austin Peay, 79-61, in the first round of the 2010 OVC Tournament. The Lady Govs move on to play second-seed Morehead State at the Bridgestone Center in Nashville on Friday in the semifinals.

Ten days ago, Tennessee Tech led by 21 in the first half against Austin Peay at the Dave Aaron Arena, but on Tuesday, the Lady Govs flipped the script as they took a 13-point lead into the break. The Golden Eagles cut the deficit to 10 in the second half but could not come all the way back as APSU won by 18.

Freshman Kellie Cook led the team in scoring with 18 points on (7-of-14) shooting from the field. Sophomore Tacarra Hayes added 13 points and eight assists, while Krystal Stirrup also finished in double-figures with 12.

The game was played within four points for the first 10 minutes of action as neither team was about to execute effectively out of their half-court offense.

Following the under 12-minute media timeout, the Lady Govs scored six straight to give them a 22-16 lead with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the half. Hayes ended the run with a driving layup, but APSU maintained its advantage as the Lady Govs were able to routinely get to the free throw line and convert.

Austin Peay's Nicole Jamen grabbed an offensive board and put it back with a foul before converting the three-point play to put APSU ahead by eight, 29-21, before the Lady Govs took their biggest lead of the first half, 37-23, with just less than two minutes remaining in the period.

At the break, the Lady Govs held a 27-15 advantage in rebounds, including a plus-eight advantage on the offensive glass, and out-scored the Golden Eagles, 18-8, in the paint.

APSU kept the pressure on to begin the second half as the Lady Govs built their lead to 17, 59-42, with just less than 12 minutes to play, but TTU would not go away as a pair of free throws by Simone Rutledge and an old fashioned three-point play by Kellie Cook got Tech to within 12, 59-47.

The teams exchanged buckets before Stirrup connected on a pair of free throws to bring Tech within 10 with 9:19 remaining.

That is as close as TTU would get as the Lady Govs went on a run of their own and extended their lead back to 70-55 with six minutes left in the game before going on to claim the 79-61 victory.

First-year head coach Sytia Messer and the Golden Eagles finish their season with a 14-16 record overall and 8-10 mark in conference action. Tech's 14 wins this season are the most since the 2005-06 season when TTU finished 23-9.