LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Tennessee Tech women's basketball came out short in the fourth quarter against Northern Illinois as the Golden Eagles fell 82-74 to open the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout.
"I thought we lost to a really good team today, that just made more plays at crucial times than we did," expressed head coach Kim Rosamond. "I thought our kids played hard, and we have made tremendous strides rebounding the basketball. Our effort today was good and we played well in spurts, but we also had a few stretches that we just didn't execute the way we usually do, and that really caught up with us. We had some really good looks, but we just didn't shoot the ball well today."
Kesha Brady led all scorers in the contest with 24 points, shooting 45 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from 3-point range. Defensively, Anacia Wilkinson led Tech with a game-high 10 rebounds in the contest, while also picking up three assists, and a block. Akia Harris dished out a game-high eight assists in the contests, while netting eight points, and collecting a steal. Jordan Brock also tallied eight points in the contest, which included a pair of 3-pointers, moving her to 5th all-time at Tennessee Tech in made 3-pointers with 162 in her Golden Eagle career.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead to open the contest, however, the Huskies battled back to eventually take a one-point lead at the 3:29-mark of the first quarter, 12-11. The two squads battled back-and-forth before a 19-18 NIU lead that was quickly quieted from a huge 3-point jumper by Brady to give the Golden Eagles the 21-19 lead. NIU closed the quarter out with a two-point jumper to even the game at 21-21 after the first 10 minutes of play.
The second frame opened with an 11-2 NIU run through the 5:32-minute mark of the period to push the Huskies to their largest lead of the contest, 32-23. The Golden Eagles locked in defensively as Tech scored 11 unanswered points over the next four minutes to hold a 34-32 lead with 1:21 remaining in the half. NIU scored on a layup with six seconds remaining to bring things back even, 34-34, at the break.
NIU netted the first score of the third quarter as they outscored the Golden Eagles 8-2 to take a six-point lead through the first three minutes of the period. Tech rallied with seven unanswered points on a pair of layups from Taylor Lamb and Brady, as well as Brock's second 3-pointer of the contest, to give the Golden Eagles the 43-42 lead with 4:47 to play in the third. The two squads would battle back-and-forth yet again through a 48-48 tie, before the Huskies closed the third up by one, 52-51.
NIU opened the fourth on a 17-9 run to match their largest lead of the contest with six minutes to play in the game. The Golden Eagles produced a 12-6 run to bring the contest back within a score, 75-72, but that was as close as it would get before the Huskies closed the contest on a 7-2 run to bring the game to its final, 82-74.
"They are a good basketball team, and we played hard enough to win the basketball game today," said coach Rosamond. "But in order to consistently beat good teams, we not only have to have good effort, but we must also have better execution on both ends down the stretch."
The Golden Eagles have a quick turnaround as they will close play in the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT against Detroit Mercy.