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February 27, 2014

Don't blink: Golden Eagles nip Lady Colonels with less than half second to play


By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

RICHMOND, Ky. – It was an adjective-conjuring finish.

Freshman Hannah Goolsby was fouled with less than half-a-second remaining in a tie game Thursday night, and stepped to the free throw line for the first time in the contest.

Her two shots proved to be the winners as Tennessee Tech pulled out an inconceivable, improbable, incredible 76-74 Ohio Valley Conference road victory at Eastern Kentucky in McBrayer Arena.

Tech (12-16/9-6 OVC) led by eight points with just 32 seconds to play, before a transforming series of fouls, turnovers and free throws set up the outlandish finish.

Junior Diamond Henderson made five consecutive free throws to put Tech on top, 74-66, matching the largest lead of the night with just over half-minute to play.

Michaela Hunter started the Colonel rally with a layup, and a steal by Mariah Massengill set up Pilar Walker's 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to make it 74-71.

Tech missed both free throws, and fouled Hunter on the rebound. She made both free throws for a 74-73 margin with four seconds left.

And that's when things really got interesting.
 
Eastern Kentucky (15-11/9-6 OVC) forced another turnover on the inbounds play and drew a foul, putting Hunter at the line with two seconds to play and a chance to win. She made one to tie the game, but missed the second.

Molly Heady snapped down the rebound and got a timeout called with one second left.

The Colonels chose to pressure the inbounds play, looking for yet another steal, but this time were called for a foul, putting Goolsby into the game-winning situation with .41 seconds on the clock.

EKU pulled ahead early in the first half and maintained a lead for most of the opening period, as both teams shot well. Tech hit 54.5 percent (12-for-22) in the first half while EKU connected on 50 percent (15-fuor-30). The Colonels held a 16-8 edge in first half rebounds and led, 36-33 at the intermission.

Tech continued its red-hot accuracy in the second half, hitting 70 percent (14-for-20) after the break. The Golden Eagles also owned a 20-14 edge in second half rebounds. EKU slipped to 36.4 percent (12-for-33) accuracy. But kept things close by nailing 7-of-12 second-half 3-pointers.
Mariah Dean's layup with 10:36 remaining put Tech up 52-51 and started an 11-0 Golden Eagle run that featured back-to-back 3-pointers from Goolsby and Heady for a 59-51 lead with 8:49 to play.

Eastern Kentucky came back with 9-0 run to take a 62-61 lead on Carpenter's 3-pointer.

Candace Parson regained the lead for Tech once more, and Golden Eagles extended it to six, 70-64, with 58 seconds left.

Tech finished the game hitting 61.9 percent (26-for-42), including 6-of-10 from outside the arc. EKU hit 42.9 percent for the game, including 11-for-18 from long distance for 61 percent.

Henderson led all scorers with 21 points, and also contributed six rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Parson finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Goolsby notched 13, going 3-for-4 from three-point range. Heady added 10, raising her career mark to 977.

Kayla Brewer blocked three shots, lifting her season total to 57 as she broke the school record. The previous mark of 55 was set in 1987-88 by Melinda Clayton, and tied in 1993-94 by Taryn Slattery. Dean finished with eight points and five boards.

EKU had five players in double figures, and the group scored all but three of the team's points. Miranda Maples led the way with 19 points and six rebounds, Marie Carpenter had 16, Walker 14 points, Shelly Harper 12 points and eight rebounds, and Hunter finished with 10.