Battle for top spot comes to Eblen Center as women host Eastern Kentucky

 

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- While Eastern Kentucky is on a roll, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team has one thing on its mind...earning the number one seed in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.

The Golden Eagles have regained their focus and intensity after a crucial road win over Southeast Missouri Monday night, and will host division leader EKU Thursday night. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m.

The Lady Colonels enter the Eblen Center as the leader in the East Division and have won four straight by an average margin of 8.25 points since getting routed 75-60 by UT Martin. EKU faces a serious challenge as the Golden Eagles are coming off a 13-point road victory against SEMO.

A victory for the Golden Eagles would extend a successful run toward the top seed in the division. Tech is 6-1 against East opponents, and 5-1 in the month of February. If the Purple and Gold win the OVC tilt Thursday, they control their own destiny. A win would force a two-way tie between Eastern Kentucky and the Golden Eagles, as both teams go into their season finales on Saturday.

Assuming both teams win their last games of the season (and that's a big assumption, with a tough Morehead State coming to Eblen Center Saturday), each would end with a 12-4 record. Tech would hold the tie-breaker advantage over EKU and would get the top seed in the East.

Tennessee Tech (16-11, 10-4 OVC) vs. Eastern Kentucky  (17-8, 11-3 OVC)
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013
5:30 p.m. CT
Hooper Eblen Center - Cookeville, Tenn.

The Broadcasts
TV: WCTE (Buddy Pearson, Bill Worrell)
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: OVC Digital Network 
Live Stats

Setting the Stage
The Golden Eagles play in their final home swing at home, beginning with Eastern Kentucky. It's the biggest game of the year, according to head coach Jim Davis and in honor of the Tech faithful, it's Fan Appreciation Week. For every ticket purchased by a fan, they get one free. 

A couple of special events are also scheduled for Thursday's games. It is Scout Night, as well as Military Appreciation Night. Free admission is being offered to both groups. Military and Public Safety Appreciation Night is being held in recognition of the men and women who give the gift of Freedom to all Americans and keep us safe every day. Tech invites all military personnel, both active and retired, as well as persons working in law enforcement, emergency and first responder fields, to be guests at the game along with their immediate family members. 

TTUSports.com will also hold a Tweet and Greet. Fans who follow @TTUGoldenEagles will have the chance to win loads of prizes by participating in various contests and activities throughout the night. Students are encouraged to wear their "Purple People TweeTTUr shirts" in the student section. 

A Glance at the Golden Eagles
The Golden Eagles are 4-2 at home in conference action, with their last outcome at home resulting in a 79-52 thumping of Jacksonville State. 

The Golden Eagles average 7.8 three-pointers per game at home in conference action, with four different Golden Eagles averaging just shy of two shots per game from behind the arc. Diamond Henderson, Tech's leading scorer averages 17.0 points per game in the Eblen Center, while Jala Harris adds 11.5. 

Henderson boasts a 48 percent field goal percentage, the third best percentage in the conference. 

T'Keyah Williams has come on late in the season, grabbing her fourth double-double of the season at SEMO, her third in five games. 

As a team, Tech averages 66.2 points, a .423 field goal percentage, 6.4 three-pointers, 35.1 rebounds, 12.4 assists and 7.5 steals per game. 

A Look at the Lady Colonels
The Lady Colonels have lost a key player to their line-up, but have two players remaining that average double-digits. Marie Carpenter leads Eastern Kentucky with 12.7 points per game, while Brittany Coles averages 12.6. Eastern Kentucky's leading rebounder is pulling down 9.4 boards per game, as the Lady Colonels are out-rebounding opponents by four boards per game. 

Eastern Kentucky boasts the second-best scoring defense in the OVC, and averages a conference-high 4.9 blocked shots per game. 

As a team, Eastern Kentucky averages 61.3 points, a .378 field goal percentage, 5.6 three-pointers, 42.0 rebounds, 12.9 assists and 8.7 steals per game. 

Series History
Tech leads the series 53-22, with the two teams first meeting in the 1973-74 season. The Golden Eagles have won five of the past six pairings. In their last meetings just two weeks ago, the Golden Eagles lost their hold on first place with a 61-55 loss at Eastern Kentucky, slipping one game back into a tie for second place with Belmont behind the Lady Colonels. 

Last season, Tech swept the series, meeting Eastern Kentucky twice during regular season and once in OVC Tournament play. In the tournament, Harris had a game-high 19 points, her best performance against the Lady Colonels. 

Tech is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings, all three losses coming in Alumni Coliseum.