By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The recent offensive struggles for the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team surfaced again on Thursday night at Southeast Missouri, as the Golden Eagles were plagued by a lack of consistent execution in a 62-53 loss in SEMO's Show Me Center.
The loss moves to TTU to a 16-6 record on the season, and an 8-3 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference.
"Offensively, we were just out of sync, out of rhythm all night," said head coach Kim Rosamond. "We shot the ball extremely poorly, and it was one of our worst offensive performances this year."
"I thought we did enough on the defensive end to be able to win the basketball game, but when you play as poor offensively as we did tonight, it's going to be really hard to win on the road."
Tech registered a season-low in field goal percentage, 26.9 percent, and took its second-worst mark from 3-point range (17.4 percent).
The middle stages of the game were especially difficult, as TTU went a combined 4-of-24 in the second and third quarters.
Despite all of that, and thanks to its best showing of the season from the free-throw line (21-of-23, 91.3 percent), Tech found itself trailing by just one point, 45-44, with six minutes remaining in the contest.
Southeast Missouri would make its decisive run from that point, outscoring the Golden Eagles 17-9 down the stretch.
"I thought we had shots, but we weren't ready to shoot them," said Rosamond. "We were getting ready after we caught it, and you can't shoot the ball like that. We had shots in the paint that we turned down in order to try and kick it out, and we just didn't finish on the offensive end."
The turnover numbers complicated matters further, as Tech recorded 22 of them on the evening, with 13 coming in the first half.
"The turnovers killed us," Rosamond said. "Twenty-two turnovers for the game, and, while they pressed us, a lot of those weren't from their press. They came from bad decisions in our half-court offense.
TTU was without one of its major difference-makers in junior point guard Akia Harris, who sat out while recovering from an injury sustained last week.
Harris, who is fourth in the OVC in assist-to-turnover ratio, would have obviously impacted the offensive flow, but Rosamond was far more concerned with her team's inability to overcome the setback.
"There's no question we missed Akia – no question at all," Rosamond said. "Akia is an integral part of what we do. She's a very important piece to our basketball team, and she's also a leader for us. At the same time, one of the strengths of our team is our depth, and that didn't show up tonight. There is going to be adversity throughout a season. People are going to go down with injury or illness and you have to have other people step up, and we didn't play like that as a team tonight."
Mackenzie Coleman was Tech's leading scorer in the game, tallying 14 points in a season-high 30 minutes. Kentoria Alexander and Jordan Brock each scored nine, Kesha Brady had eight points and six rebounds, and Abby Buckner tallied six points and a team-high seven boards. Anacia Wilkinson, who started the game in place of Harris, contributed five points and three blocks, and Megan Clark chipped in two points.
The Golden Eagles cannot afford to dwell on the loss, as Saturday's matchup features a road date with perennial OVC contender UT Martin.
"We've got a very, very tough one on Saturday, and we're going to be pressed again for 40 minutes. It's going to be very similar to this. UT Martin is a team that is going to put a lot of points on the board, so we've got to have a better effort, better focus, and better determination on Saturday."
Tip time for the 69th meeting between the Golden Eagles and Skyhawks will be 1 p.m. CT inside Martin's Elam Center.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information