Tech opens February on road at SIUE, Eastern Illinois

Tech opens February on road at SIUE, Eastern Illinois

By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Tennessee Tech kicks off its final month of regular-season play on the road, traveling to Illinois.

Tech tips off with SIUE on Thursday, Feb. 1 in an Education Day game at 11:30 a.m. CT and Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. CT.

Tech returns to SIUE after facing the Cougars in Edwardsville back on New Year's Eve in 2016. The Golden Eagles dropped a 60-49 result but would go on to face SIUE again in the two teams' opening game of the 2017 OVC Tournament in Nashville. The game marked Tech's first appearance in the tournament since 2014 and its first time meeting the Cougars in the OVC Tournament. The Golden Eagles fell by a score of 77-69.
SIUE joined the Ohio Valley Conference in 2008 after moving up to Division I from the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference, and so Tech has only played SIUE a total of 10 times. The Cougars hold the 6-4 advantage in their all-time series with Tech and also lead 3-2 in Edwardsville.
Tech also made the trek to Eastern Illinois last February in the teams' lone meeting of the season. The Panthers took the 54-46 win, and Golden Eagle Asia Harper tied for the scoring lead among all players with 13 points.
Tech leads Eastern Illinois 25-16 in its 21-year series history, but the Panthers have a slight 10-9 edge in Charleston.
The Golden Eagles fell to Southeast Missouri and UT Martin in a pair of home games last week.
Southeast Missouri defeated Tech 70-66 in the two teams' fourth-straight game in Cookeville decided by four points or less. The contest included a bit of history made by Tech freshman Jordan Brock, who scored a career-high 30 points and tied a career-high of seven 3-pointers. Brock became just the sixth-ever Tech freshman to score 30 points in a game and the first in 13 years to do so (the most recent freshman before Brock to score 30 was Stefanie Holbrook on Jan. 6, 2005 against Eastern Illinois). Brock received her first adidas® OVC Freshman of the Week nod earlier this week.
Two days later, Tech held UT Martin, one of the strongest offensive teams in the OVC, to 67 points. The Skyhawks put the game out of reach in the final quarter after making eight-straight free throws to close it out by a score of 67-51. The win marked UT Martin's 10th of the last 11 games of the series. Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson led offensively for Tech with 20 points and a season-high four 3-pointers and was also two rebounds shy of a double-double.
Thursday, Feb. 1, 11:30 a.m. CT
Live stream: OVC Digital Network
at Eastern Illinois
Saturday, Feb. 3, 1 p.m. CT
Live stream: OVC Digital Network
SIUE Cougars (11-10, 8-2 OVC)
  • 2016-17 record: 14-17, 9-7 Ohio Valley Conference (finished 3rd in the regular season; lost to 7-seed Eastern Kentucky 61-58 in the tournament semifinals)
  • Notables: With eight conference games remaining, SIUE sits at second in the league and trails leader Belmont by two games. The Cougars are one of three current OVC teams still chasing their first conference title (Jacksonville State and Morehead State)… SIUE head coach Paula Buscher, who has been at the helm for the Cougars since the 2012-13 season, is one win away from 300 in her 20-year coaching career. Buscher entered this season ranked third among current OVC coaches in wins – under her direction, SIUE came into the 2017-18 season with 78 wins.

Eastern Illinois Panthers (2-19, 1-9 OVC)

  • 2016-17 record: 9-19, 5-11 Ohio Valley Conference (tied for 11th in the regular season)
  • Notables: EIU is one of four OVC programs with a new head coach this season. Matt Bollant takes over for the Panthers with 15 years of coaching experience, including five years as the women's head coach at Illinois from 2012 to 2017. With Saturday's game, Tech will have faced every OVC team led by a first-year head coach (Belmont's Bart Brooks, Tennessee State's Jessica Kern and Murray State's Rechelle Turner)… Guard Karle Pace shared the latest adidas® OVC Freshman of the Week honor with Tech's Jordan Brock after a career game at Tennessee State. Pace scored 31 points, making 11 of her 18 field goal tries and shooting 60 percent from 3-point range. She also added four rebounds and a steal. Her previous career-best had been 18 points against Tennessee State earlier in the season.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information