By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information
RICHMOND, Ky.—The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team (10-19, 7-9 OVC) fell to league opponent Eastern Kentucky (10-19, 7-9 OVC) in their final OVC matchup of the regular season. The Colonels claimed a 78-65 victory pushing the series score to 66-26, however, still in favor of the Golden Eagles.
Despite the Tech loss, the Golden Eagles still claimed a spot at the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, as the No. 6 seed. The Purple and Gold squad will take on the No. 3 seeded SIUE on Mar. 2 at 3 p.m. in the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in the first quarter with a jumper from Hannah Goolsby at the 6:55 mark. However, the Colonels made a comeback to tie things up at 18 with a three from Mariah Massengil at the 1:27 mark. From there, Eastern Kentucky took the lead and pulled ahed by five at 23-18 with a layup from Shavontae Naylor with 29 seconds remaining in the quarter. But a three from Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson with seven seconds remaining put the Golden Eagles back within two at 23-21 heading into the second.
As second quarter play began the Colonels took an 11-point lead at 36-25 with an Alexus Cooper bucket from downtown with 4:09 on the clock. Eastern Kentucky continued to apply pressure extending their lead out to 38-28 before heading into the half.
At the break, the Golden Eagles were shooting 44 percent from the field, 12.5 percent from the three-point range, and 83.3 percent from the free throw line while the Colonels were shooting 46.7 percent from the floor, 61.5 percent from beyond the arc, and 100 (2-for-2) percent from the charity stripe. Tech outrebounded EKU by a 16-15 margin, however, the Colonels forced 10 Golden Eagle turnovers while allowing just six.
Into the third quarter, Eastern Kentucky maintained a 10-point lead at 44-34 with a layup from Naylor and 7:41 on the clock. Two at the charity stripe from Treyvonna "Trey" Brooks put Tech back within nine at 48-39 at the 4:26 mark. However, the Colonels maintained their lead at 55-43 with a three from Massengill at the 1:35 mark, before closing out the third quarter leading the Golden Eagles 55-45.
Eastern Kentucky continued to add buffer to their lead as they went ahead by 13 at the 5:46 mark with a three from Cooper. Tech would not relent, however, and pushed back within eight at 65-57 with a Brooks free throw point and 4:32 remaining in the contest. The Golden Eagles continued to pursue the Colonels as a Hickson layup kept Tech within nine of Eastern Kentucky at 70-61 and 2:23 remaining in the contest. However, the Golden Eagles efforts fell just short as the Colonels claimed a 78-65 victory.
Hickson led the Golden Eagles with 22 points and five rebounds in the contest. Teammate Brooks came up just shy of a double-double with 16 points, seven rebounds, and six assists (tied her career-best). Cooper led Eastern Kentucky with 26 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Three other Colonels found themselves scoring in double-figures: Naylor tallied 18 points, Jalen O'Bannon recorded 15, and Massengill posted 10.
As a team, Tech shot 42.1 percent from the field, 25 percent from beyond the arc, and 71.4 percent from the free throw line while EKU shot 56.9 percent from the floor, 57.9 percent from downtown, and 64.3 percent from the charity stripe. The Golden Eagles outrebounded the Colonels by a 31-30 margin, however, EKU forced 13 Tech turnovers while allowing just 11.
Photo by Jim Dillon