Golden Eagle women subdue Belmont in initial OVC meeting

Golden Eagle women subdue Belmont in initial OVC meeting

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech women’s basketball team took over first place in the Ohio Valley Conference East Division and remained one of only two unbeaten teams in the league in conference play by outlasting a challenge from Belmont Saturday in Eblen Center and claiming a tough, 58-52 victory.

The Golden Eagles (8-7/2-0 OVC) withstood a late rally by the Bruins (7-8/2-1 OVC), who came into the fray with an unblemished league mark.

Diamond Henderson led all scorers with 17 points for the Golden Eagles. T’Keyah Williams (below) added 13 points, six rebounds and three steals while Jala Harris (above) contributed 12 points, five rebounds and five assists. Molly Heady also had a solid effort with eight points and seven rebounds.

Molly Ernst and ordyn Luffman topped Belmont with 10 points each, while Katie Brooks added eight points and four assists. Brooks scored six of her eight points in spearheading Belmont’s rally in the final three minutes. Torie Vaught added nine points and Jordan Coleman led the Bruins on the boards with six rebounds.

Tech owned a lead the entire second half, and was up by six, 51-45, with 3:39 to play after Williams drove to the hoop and hit a layup.

Brooks dropped in back-to-back jumpers from the free throw line in the next minute to pull the Bruins within a basket, 51-49, and the senior guard knocked down two free throws with 1:51 remaining to tie the game at 51-51.

Williams lifted Tech on top , 52-51, with a free throw with 1:24 left and added two more free throws with 51 seconds to play, nudging Tech’s lead to three points, 54-51.

Adrienne Tarrence hit one free throw with 34 seconds left to make it a two-point game, but Lashay Davis was perfect at the line in her two chances with 19.7 seconds to regain Tech’s four-point edge, 56-52. Harris added the final two free throws with six seconds for the final margin.

The Golden Eagles limited Belmont to 15 points for the first 18:58 of the opening half, allowing just one offensive rebound and 28 percent shooting.  Three Bruin free throws in the final minute made it an eight-point Golden Eagle lead at the intermission, 26-18.

Tech’s offense, meanwhile, fared a little better while forging a double-figure lead in the first half with balanced scoring and a solid rebounding edge.

After Belmont had claimed an 8-7 lead seven minutes into the contest, Tech responded with a 10-0 run to claim a 17-8 lead. The run started with a layup by Williams and lasted through a 3-pointer by Harris.

With Harris and Williams each scoring six, and Tech going 8-for-10 at the free throw line, the Golden Eagles were up 26-15 with 1:18 to play.  Tech owned a 25-15 rebound advantage in the opening 20 minutes, overcoming 34.8 percent shooting and nine turnovers.

Tech shot 42.1 percent in the second half and 38.1 percent for the game (16-for-42). The Golden Eagles were 23-for-29 (79.3 percent) at the foul line. Belmont improved dramatically in the second half to shoot 54.5 percent, finishing the game with a 37.3 percent mark. The Bruins were 10-for-16 at the line.

Tech owned a final 38-27 advantage in rebounds.

The Golden Eagles have one more home contest remaining in the early part of January, hosting Tennessee State Monday at 7 p.m.