By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech's grueling non-conference schedule finally comes to a close this week before the team will take time off for the holiday season.
Tech faces Winthrop at 11 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Dec. 19 and closes non-conference play with Lipscomb on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. CT.
The pair of games represents Tech's final opportunity to tune up before OVC play begins on Dec. 28. Tech has been well-tested thus far, playing the 23rd-toughest schedule in the nation according to the most recent NCAA RPI release.
The Winthrop game tips off early due to Tech hosting its first-ever Education Day, an initiative that has been implemented in women's basketball programs around the Ohio Valley Conference. The Golden Eagles have partnered with the university's College of Education, and a handful of local middle schools will be in attendance at the game.
Seating will also be changed to general admission for Tuesday's game only.
Tech is undefeated in its five-game series with Winthrop and most recently met the Eagles last November. Tech defeated Winthrop in Rock Hill 73-50, with then-juniors Asia Harper and Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson combining for 29 points and 13 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles also have the 4-3 all-time edge over Lipscomb. They fell to the Bisons 71-69 in an overtime game in Nashville, with this Thursday's game coming exactly a year later. Harper and Hickson again scored in double-figures, totaling 36 points and 10 rebounds.
- Education Day – In its partnership with Tech's College of Education, the attending middle school students will receive math worksheets during the game. Select in-game promotions will also be tailored to the students.
- Tacky holiday sweater game – Fans are encouraged to wear their tackiest holiday sweater to Thursday's game.
- 2016-17 record: 2-29, 1-17 Big South Conference
- Notables: Winthrop returns two of its top three scorers from last season's game with Tech – Angela Coello Perez (11 points) and Noell Kellers (10 points). Coello Perez currently averages 4.6 points per game, while Kellers has not yet played this season… Eagles head coach Lynette Woodard is coaching her first full season for Winthrop – she was appointed as head coach with four games left in the 2016-17 season. Woodard was a two-time U.S. Olympian, a four-time All-American at Kansas and the first female member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
- 2016-17 record: 6-24, 3-11 Atlantic Sun Conference
- Notables: Senior point guard Loren Cagle tied a program record in the Bisons' Sunday loss to Saint Louis, hitting seven-consecutive 3-pointers to help her to a career-high 28 points. Cagle leads the team in scoring with 15.8 points per game and is the only player to average double-figures.