No. 3 seeded Tech opens OVC tourney play Thurdsday at 2 p.m.
View/download women's PDF of tournament bracket
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It was the first Senior Night in three seasons at Tennessee Tech, and the Golden Eagles and their fans made sure the team's four departing seniors went out with a bang.
Tech had four players in double figures, shot 52 percent and owned a 45-35 edge in rebounds in claiming a convincing 88-51 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Murray State Saturday night in Eblen Center in the final game of the regular season.
The contest brought an all-time record attendance in Eblen Center fro a women's basketball game of 6,512. It topped the previous record of 6,113 set back in 1990.
Junior Jala Harris led Tech (15-15/11-5 OVC) with 18 points, while seniors Tacarra Hayes, Rachel Glidden and Brittany Darling also scored in double digits. Hayes finished her career on her home floor with 16 points, seven rebound, five assists and two steals while Glidden added 13 points, seven boards, two assists and two steals. Darling chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots – at least two that brought the crowd roaring to its feet.
Murray State (12-17/8-8 OVC), which had claimed a four-point win over Tech back in mid-January in Kentucky, was led by Mariah Robinson's 14 points and four rebounds. Tessa Elkins added nine points and Kyra Watson had eight points and five rebounds. The Racers were limited to 26.7 percent shooting and made 20 turnovers. Tech had 12 turnovers and 15 steals.
Tech grabbed an early 9-3 lead, but the Racers put together a 13-0 run to gain a 16-9 advantage just seven minutes into the contest. A 3-pointer by Kayla Lowe started it and four straight points by Mariah Robinson capped it.
That's when the Golden Eagles rolled through a stretch that pretty much determined the outcome, outscoring MSU 30-4 over the next 10 minutes. Molly Heady was the catalyst with six of the first eight points and Tacarra Hayes notched six, but it was junior Jala Harris with the hottest hand, scoring 13 of the 30 points. When the barrage ended, the Golden Eagles were up by 19 points, 39-20, with 3:21 to go before halftime.
Tech led by 18 at the break, 43-25.
Coming out of halftime, Tech continued to pour it on, with Hayes netting six and Rachel Glidden adding a 3-pointer to blow the lead out to 26 points, 52-26.
The difference continued to grow, reaching 30 points with 12 minutes to play and bumping all the way to 40 points, 75-35, with 8:40 remaining.
Now the Golden Eagles turn their attention to the 2012 OVC Tournament in Nashville's Municipal Auditorium. Tech is the No. 3 seed, and will open play Thursday afternoon following a first-round bye on Wednesday.
For ticket information for the tournament, contact the TTU Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or call (931) 372-3940.