By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
DAYTON, Ohio – It was the fourth quarter that hurt Tennessee Tech the most in its 82-59 loss to Wright State on Friday night.
Leading Tech 63-52 heading into the last period, the host Raiders (5-2) outscored Tech 19-7 to solidify their win. Tech had played hard and well for the first three quarters, but too many mistakes at the end put the game out of reach.
"I hate the final score because I thought for three quarters, we fought and we battled with an excellent basketball team," said head coach Kim Rosamond. "That's as good of a team that we're going to face this year."
Tech held the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year, Chelsea Welch, to 14 points Friday night. Welch had entered the game averaging 22.5 points. Lexi Smith, the standout of last year's match-up with 25 points, scored just nine in this latest meeting.
Offensively, Tech had three score in double-figures (seniors Asia Harper and Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson combined for 23 points and seven rebounds) while another, Akia Harris, was just a point away with nine. Freshman Kesha Brady paced Tech with 18 points after totaling 18 in her four previous games. Abby Buckner added six of the Golden Eagles' seven points off the bench.
But in the final period, Tech went 3 of 15 from the field, missed its five 3-point attempts and made just one of its five free throw tries. Wright State scored on 50 percent of its field goals, which were mostly layups, and added a 3-pointer and all four of its free throws.
Overall, the Raiders ended up creating more scoring opportunities than Tech, shooting the ball 68 times compared to 51 times for the Golden Eagles. Wright State converted 11 more shots than Tech and turned the ball over just seven times.
"In the fourth quarter, we let our offense affect our defense," said Rosamond. "We really struggled to score in the fourth quarter. Even when you start struggling, you've got to defend, and we didn't get stops.
"There was growth tonight. There was a lot of growth on the offensive end. I thought we executed really well for three quarters. That fourth quarter, not so much. We had two freshmen that stepped in and played some really good minutes. Kesha Brady battled and fought and was as aggressive as she could have been. Abby Buckner came in and gave us some really good minutes and played really confident. There's growth, and that's what we just have to keep focusing on. I'm not happy with the result – it's not what any of us want, but we're going to get there."