EIU tops Tech 54-46 in Saturday afternoon road matchup

EIU tops Tech 54-46 in Saturday afternoon road matchup

By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information

CHARLESTON, Ill.—The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team (9-15, 6-5 OVC) suffered a 54-46 loss on the road to OVC opponent Eastern Illinois (8-15, 4-7 OVC) on Saturday afternoon. The Panther victory brought the series score to 25-16, however, still in favor of the Golden Eagles. It also gave EIU the go-ahead 10-9 series score for games taking place in Charleston.

After a two minute scoring drought by either side, EIU's Brittin Boyer opened up game play with a layup at the eight minute mark. Finally, the Golden Eagles got on the board with a layup from Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson at the 6:37 mark to cut the Panther lead down to 4-2. A Hickson three at the 5:07 mark further dug into the EIU lead cutting the score down to one point at 6-5. With 2:11 to go in the quarter, Eastern Illinois pulled ahead by five at 10-5 with a Grace Lennox layup. A Treyvonna "Trey" Brooks layup followed by an Asia Harper bucket put Tech back within one with 30 seconds remaining on the clock, however, a last second jumper from the Panther's Danielle Berry secured a three-point lead at 12-9 heading into the second quarter.

A Goolsby three kicked off the second quarter on a high note quickly tying the contest up at 12 at the 9:25 mark. From there, the Golden Eagles went on to take their first lead of the game at 14-12 with two at the line by Akia Harris and 8:50 on the clock. Tech went on to create a four-point lead at 18-14 with a Harper layup at the 7:06 mark. EIU responded quickly to the Golden Eagle lead and a three from Halle Stull tied things up at 20 heading into the first media timeout of the quarter at the 4:58 mark. Out of the break, the Panthers and Golden Eagles continued to battle with Tech holding the slight advantage at 23-22 with a Goolsby bucket from downtown with 3:52 remaining in the quarter. However, Eastern Illinois came back to lead Tech 28-25 heading into the half.

At the break, the Golden Eagles were shooting 36 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from the three-point range, and 100 percent (4-for-4) from the charity stripe while the Panthers were shooting 41.4 percent from the floor, 28.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 100 percent (2-for-2) from the free throw line. Tech grabbed 23 off the glass to EIU's 10, however, the Panther forced 12 Golden Eagle turnovers while allowing just four.

Eastern Illinois opened second half play with a 4-0 run to extend their lead out to 32-25 with 7:28 pm the clock. Tech would not give up. Two at the line from Harper put the Golden Eagles right back within one of the Panthers at 32-31 and 5:18 remaining in the quarter. A Lindsey Jennings steal then gave Tech the momentum to draw the EIU foul and retake the 33-32 lead at the 3:04 mark with Kandace "Tip" Newry connecting on one of two attempts at the charity stripe. A Jennings three with 1:30 on the clock continued to keep the Golden Eagles in the game as Tech tied the score up at 36. However, turnovers at the end of the quarter proved costly for the Golden Eagles as the Panther clang on to a 39-36 lead heading into the fourth.

A 6-2 Eastern Illinois run opened up fourth quarter play to give the Panthers the 45-38 lead just under two minutes into game play. A three from Harris pulled Tech back within four at 45-41 and 6:19 remaining in the contest. Foul trouble then sent Goolsby to the bench with 5:10 to go in the game, as she departed with six points and a score of 45-43. From there, Eastern Illinois continued to hold control of the contest and claimed a 54-46 victory over Tech.

Harper led the Golden Eagles with a career-high 13 points in the contest. Teammates Brooks grabbed a career-best 14 off the glass while Jennings and Harris each added seven points. Lennox and Erica Brown led Eastern Illinois each with 13 points, while Brown grabbed six rebounds and Lennox went 5-for-6 from the line.

As a team, the Golden Eagles shot 33.3 percent from the field, 50 percent from the three-point range, and 71.4 percent from the charity stripe while the Panthers shot 38.2 percent from the floor, 18.2 percent from beyond the arc, and 71.4 percent from the free throw line. Tech outrebounded Eastern Illinois by a 41-28 margin, over the Golden Eagles allowed 25 turnovers to the Panther's 10.

Tech returns to action on Wednesday, February 8, when the Golden Eagles travel down I-40 to compete against in-state OVC rival Tennessee State in an 11 a.m. contest at the Gentry Center.

Photo by Jim Dillon