NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team downed Ohio Valley Conference East Division leader Belmont University, 67-62, Saturday evening on the Bruins home floor. It left Tech undefeated in OVC East action.
The difference in Saturday's clash came down to foul shots. The Golden Eagles went 22-for-30 from the charity stripe, visiting the free throw line 25 times in the second half. With 12 minutes to play in the contest, both teams were in the bonus, and Tech was able to convert 18 points in the second half off Belmont fouls.
Four different players finished with double-digits as the Golden Eagles scored 67 points against the top-ranked defense in the OVC. The Bruins have held opponents to 58.5 points per game this season, and conference opponents to just 53.9 points per game.
Senior guard Jala Harris led the Golden Eagle attack with a game–high 21 points, and four assists, playing every minute of the contest. T'Keyah Williams finished with a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, the first Golden Eagle to finish with a double-double this season. Molly Heady contributed 15 points as Tech's top offensive threat from behind the arc putting in 3-of-4 three pointers. Diamond Henderson tipped three steals and finished with 17 points.
"I'm very happy with how we played today," said head coach Jim Davis. We had several girls play more minutes than they usually average, but in this point in the season that is what we need, especially from Jala Harris."
The Golden Eagles were the first to score, and never relinquished the lead. While Tech's offense looked like it would be the story of the game, the Golden Eagles forced five Belmont Turnovers in the first 10 minutes of play, including two shot clock violations, allowing just one field goal in over eight minutes of play. After the second media timeout, frustration radiated from the Belmont bench, and third year head coach Brittney Ezell made a complete line change.
The change-up sparked a 12-2 run in Belmont's favor, bringing the Bruins within three at 22-19. With four minutes remaining in the half, Williams went to the charity stripe, making her second shot ending the Golden Eagles three minute draught. Tech's defense forced another turnover and Heady took advantage tossing in a three pointer from the corner. The Golden Eagles played comfortably with a six point lead for the remainder of the half thanks to Williams putting together a three-point play. The Purple and Gold headed into the locker room with a 31-27 lead.
Henderson drove in for a lay-up to open the second half, and Belmont followed with a turnover, mirroring the first half. Heady again drained a three-pointer, to extend Tech's lead to 36-27. The Bruins would be the first team to enter the bonus, and their seventh foul would cost them three points on a Williams put-back and free throw. William's three-point play gave Tech a 45-31 lead, it's largest of the game at 12:47.
Much like a younger sibling, the Bruins couldn't be put to bed. They continued to sneak back into the game thanks to Vanderbilt transfer Jordan Coleman. Coleman rattled off six straight points in three possessions, bringing the Bruins back within six but Diamond Henderson responded with four points of her own, holding Tech's lead.
It appeared that the Golden Eagles would soar to an easy win with 2:39 left in the game thanks to a 10 point lead, but the Bruins would foul in attempt to stop the clock. It worked. The last 12 points of Tech's were from the charity stripe, and the Bruins were able to cut the lead to five, but the Golden Eagles prevailed winning the battle 67-62.