By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Mariah Dean posted her first career double-double and Candace Parson added her second double-double of the season to help lift Tennessee Tech to a 72-66 victory Saturday night over SIU Edwardsville in Ohio Valley Conference women's basketball action.
Dean came off the bench to contribute 10 points and 10 rebounds in just 12 minutes of action, much of her effort coming in the tight final minutes of the contest. Parson finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Point guard Diamond Henderson narrowly missed a third double-double for Tech, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds, while adding a six assists. The rebound and assist totals were both career-highs.
Tech (5-11/2-1 OVC) finished the contest with five players scoring in double figures. In addition to Dean, Parson and Henderson, Molly Heady added 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while freshman Hannah Goolsby scored 10.
Coco Moore led all scorers, topping SIUE with 19 points. Jessie Wendt scored 13 and Micah Jones netted 11 for the Cougars (4-12/1-3 OVC).
The contest featured a dazzling finish after it looked like Tech might host a blowout for the satisfied 2,345 fans. Instead, a second-half rally by SIUE brought the visitors back to within three points in the final minute.
The Golden Eagles played lock-down defense to open the contest, holding the visitors to one basket through the first seven minutes while building a 17-3 lead. The Tech offense got a quick spark with back-to-back 3-pointers from Heady and Goolsby to forge a 6-0 lead.
That margin grew to double digits as Parson worked in the paint for a layup to make it 12-2 at the 16:15 mark. The largest lead of the half was 14 points, which Tech hit a couple of times.
SIUE found the range from long distance and begin to peck away at the difference, using 3-pointers from Jazmin Hill and Wendt to trim Tech's lead down to eight points. Then, with 3:34 to go in the half, Jones drained two free throws and the Cougars were within seven, 32-25. They were still within seven after Catherine Taylor hit a three for Tech and Valerie Finnin answered for SIUE to make it 35-28 seconds later.
The Golden Eagles pushed their lead back to double digits, heading to halftime with a 42-30 lead after hitting an even 50 percent (16-for-32) from the field and owning a 22-15 rebound margin. Nine different players notched points in the first half for coach Jim Davis' team.
Tech never trailed in the game, but the Cougars sliced into the lead in the second half to make it a close contest down the stretch. And that's when Dean made the difference.
After SIUE had pulled to within four points, 54-50, with 6:07 to play on a pair of free throws by Tierny Austin, Dean came off the bench when Parson was whistled for her fourth foul.
Over the next five minutes, Dean had eight rebounds and six points, pushing the lead back to eight and keeping the hard-charging Cougars from catching up. A layup by Moore with 1:01 left made it a three-point Tech lead, 64-61, before Dean snared her eighth rebound of the stretch and drew the foul. Her free throw put Tech back in the lead by five, and the Golden Eagles made six of their final eight free throws to weather the storm.
The Golden Eagles host Eastern Illinois Monday at 7 p.m. in Eblen Center. It's the first of two Faculty/Staff Appreciation Nights, with free tickets available for all Tech employees. Contact the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940) for details.