COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It's nothing Hannah Goolsby hadn't done before. The true freshman took control of the game in the final minute Sunday afternoon to lift Tennessee Tech to a thrilling 84-78 victory over Valparaiso.
Goolsby had led her Cookeville High School team to plenty of success as a prep player, and Sunday she took center stage when the game was on the line to the delight of her hometown fans. She finished with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Her late heroics were set up by junior Diamond Henderson, who tied her career-high with 31 points and keyed the Golden Eagles over the final four minutes. She scored 12 of Tech's 14 points – including 10 straight -- during a critical stretch in which the Golden Eagles were able to keep the hot-shooting Crusaders from pulling away. Henderson finished with 31 points, six assists and two steals.
T'Keyah Williams also posted a career-high, grabbing 15 rebounds to carry the Golden Eagles to a 43-30 advantage on the boards.
All five Valparaiso starters scored in double figures, including a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds by Sharon Karungi. Lexi Miller topped the Crusaders with 18 points, followed by Abby Dean with 17, Charae Richardson with 16 and seven assists, and Jessi Wiedemann with 14 points.
A three-point play by Henderson with 1:05 to play brought the Golden Eagles back from a 78-74 deficit and put Tech within one point.
With 38 seconds to play, Goolsby snapped down the defensive rebound on a missed Valpo 3-pointer, and was fouled. She made both free throws to put Tech ahead, 79-78.
Eight seconds later, she stole the ball near midcourt and drew a foul, then made both free throws with 25 seconds remaining for an 81-78 TTU lead.
Williams pulled down her 15th rebound on another missed 3-pointer, and added one free throw for an 82-78 lead.
Henderson knocked down two final free throws with four seconds left for the final margin.
The Golden Eagles improved to 2-2 while Valparaiso slipped to 0-5.
The Golden Eagles could never establish a rhythm in the first half, and a four-point lead was the biggest edge in the first half for the home team. That came with 9:38 to play following a layup by Mariah Dean.
Valparaiso put together a 14-2 run over the next four minutes, climbing from a 20-16 deficit to a 30-22 lead with Charae Richardson scoring nine in the stretch.
Tech pulled back to within three on a 3-pointer by Molly Heady, and went to the break down five after Diamond Henderson hit a jumper with 11 seconds remaining to make it a 38-33 margin.
In addition to Goolsby, Henderson and Williams, Tech got several other winning performances. Molly Heady finished with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting outside the arc, and added five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Cat Taylor and Mariah Dean scored eight points each, and Candace Parker pulled down seven rebounds.
Tech's next four contests are away from home, including two games next weekend in Las Vegas at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout. Tech meets Marquette Friday and Ball State Saturday.