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Meet the Eagles draws crowd; Darling leads Purple to two-point win

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- An enthusiastic crowd watched a spirited 30-minute intersquad scrimmage then enjoyed a potluck dinner with the players and coaches as the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team held its annual "Meet the Eagles" night in Eblen Center Thursday.

Junior Brittany Darling led the way with 10 points and nine rebounds to lead the Purple team to a 28-26 victory. A transfer from Owens (Ohio) Community College, the 6-foot-5 post player was 5-for-8 from the field. Returnees Kellie Cook and Krystal Stirrup scored four each for the winning team, with Stirrup grabbing four rebounds and adding two assists. Freshman point guard Briana Jordan had four points, four assists and a steal, while freshman Molly Heady had four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Gold team, which trailed 20-8 at halftime, stormed back in the second half as Tacarra Hayes and Keisha Moore each scored five points in the second half to lead the charge. Hayes had five points, three rebounds and three steals. Freshman Candace Parson led the Gold team in scoring with six points and added four rebounds. Sophomore Tiara Hopped led her team on the boards with seven rebounds and scored four points.

The Gold team trimmed the contest to a two-point difference and appeared to score the go-ahead points on a 3-pointer by redshirt transfer Lashay Davis with three seconds remaining, but the bench had called timeout just before the shot. Following the break, the Purple defense was able to force a missed shot at the buzzer to preserve the win.

After head coach Sytia Messer announced the winners of several prizes, the fans and team headed to the concourse to share a meal that featured barbecue, beans potatoes, a few salads, and lots and lots and lots of desserts.

The Golden Eagles open the season next Thursday with an exhibition doubleheader in Eblen Center. The women's team plays Bryan College at 5:30 p.m., with the men's squad hosting Carson-Newman College at 7:30 p.m. The night will feature the annual "Gathering of Eagles" with free admission to the first 2,000 fans, plus free Pepsi drinks and popcorn for each fan.

Season tickets for the 2010-2011 Golden Eagle basketball season are currently on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940. Tickets may also be ordered online at TTUsports.com.