December 7, 2010

Turnovers stall Tech’s upset plans, Golden Eagles fall at UK

To view Coach Messer's post game comments click here

Tech's 29 turnovers translate to 29 points for the Wildcats

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Hoping to pull off a little holiday-season surprise, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team proved to be its own worst enemy Tuesday night in Memorial Coliseum.

Tech lost 29 turnovers and No. 9 Kentucky turned those miscues into 29 points, more than enough to account for a 24-point Wildcat victory, 77-53.

The Golden Eagles were within six points just seconds before halftime after rallying with a 12-0 late in the period. In the second half, the Golden Eagles overcame some early mistakes to power back to within nine, 46-37, before a flurry of turnovers turned the tight game into a double-figure UK lead.

The Golden Eagles (5-2 overall) stay on the road this weekend with a game at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is at 2:05 p.m. and the game action can be heard on the Golden Eagle Sports Network.

Three players reached double figures in the scoring column for coach Sytia Messer's squad, including 13 each from Tacarra Hayes and Kylie Cook. Hayes, who fought foul trouble throughout the contest, also had eight rebounds and three assists before being whistled for her fifth with 7:43 remaining. Cook had six assists in addition to her 13 points.

Freshman guard Keisha Moore added a career-high 12 points and dished out four assists for the Golden Eagles. Tiara Hopper narrowly missed double digits, finishing with nine.

Victoria Dunlap led UK with 30 points and nine rebounds, along with three assists and five steals. Mathies chipped in with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. She also had four assists and six steals.

The Wildcats relied heavily on their familiar full-court pressure to force 29 Golden Eagle turnovers. They also had a 45-35 edge in rebounds, with 20 on the offensive end. Kentucky converted those 20 offensive caroms into 23 second-chance points.

After the home team jumped out to a 16-3 lead, the Golden Eagles found themselves down 37-19 with just under five minutes to go in the half. Tech settled down and used a 12-0 run late in the half to scratch their way back into the contest. Moore and Hayes each scored five in the run, and suddenly it was 37-31 with nine seconds to go before the break. An off-balance jumper by Dunlap with one seconds left made it 39-31 when the teams headed to intermission.

A layup by Hopper with 14 minutes to play made it a nine-point difference, 46-37, but that was as close as Tech would make it. An 8-2 run by the Wildcats was fueled by seven Tech turnovers and three fouls on the visitors.

Tech continued to struggle, losing four more turnovers and missing four consecutive shots, and the Wildcats took advantage, building their lead to 20 points, 62-42.

Both teams shot 38 percent in the contest, Tech going 18-for-48 and Kentucky managing 29-for-76. The Wildats made 24 percent from long distance (5-for-21) while Tech hit 27 percent (3-for-11) outside the arc.