By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After trailing for three quarters, forward Mackenzie Coleman scored 24 points, narrowly missing her career-high of 26, to help lead Tennessee Tech to a dominant fourth quarter to defeat Louisiana-Monroe 75-68 on Tuesday afternoon at the Hooper Eblen Center.
"It was a hard-fought win, we knew it was going to be a struggle the entire game," expressed head coach Kim Rosamond. "I am really proud of our poise. There wasn't a whole lot going right for us through the first three quarters, but I thought our team dug down deep to get stops on the defensive end and started executing offensively in the fourth quarter."
The Golden Eagles outscored the Warhawks by double-digits, 26-15, shooting 64.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc, to overcome a four-point deficit and seal their second win of the season, marking the Golden Eagles first 2-0 start to a season since 2010-11. The Golden Eagles bench came up huge during the second half as 22 points came from reserves over the final 20 minutes of play.
Colemand, who was named the Special Olympics Player of the Game, collected her game-high 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field, sinking her sole 3-point shot in the contest, and making one of her two free throws. She added seven rebounds, blocked four shots, and collected a steal. Anacia Wilkinson earned the Golden Eagles first double-double of the season as she netted 12 points, shooting 50 percent from the field, and pulling down a team-high 10 boards. Kesha Brady was the third Tech player to net double-figures as she collected 12 points, while Jordan Brock dropped a game-high six dimes in the win.
After trading the opening field goals, the Golden Eagles went on a 10-2 run, capped by a pair of free throws from Brady, to take a huge eight-point lead through the first five minutes of the opening period. However, the Warhawks rallied with six unanswered to close out the first quarter with Tech leading by two, 12-10.
ULM evened up the game to begin the second quarter, before the two teams would trade layups to a 14-14 tie. ULM would then score seven unanswered to retake the lead, 21-14. The Warhawks would extend the lead to eight, 25-17. The Golden Eagles tallied seven-straight points to bring the deficit within one, before the Warhawks would close the half on a 4-1 run to send things into the break, 29-26.
The Golden Eagles struggled to cut the deficit as the Warhawks outscored Tech 22-13 over the first eight minutes of the third period to trail by 12. However, the Golden Eagles locked-in to score eight points in less than two minutes to bring the contest back within four, before trading a pair of field goals to trail by four heading into the final 10 minutes.
The fourth quarter was an entirely different story as the Golden Eagles dominated the final 10 minutes of play. Tech opened the period outscoring the Warhawks 6-2, on shots by Coleman, Guinn, and Wilkinson to even up the contest for the first time since the 8:43 mark of the second quarter, 55-55. The two squads traded field goals before the Golden Eagles scored six-straight to take a 63-57 lead. Tech would remain up by seven with less than 30 seconds to play, 70-63, but both teams would net five points over the final half-minute to eventually seal the Golden Eagles 75-68 win.
The Golden Eagles will depart on their first road trip of the season as they travel to Carbondale, Illinois to take on the Southern Illinois University Salukis on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Banterra Center.
Photo by Thomas Corhern