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Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Golden Eagles head to Las Vegas to participate in South Point Thanksgiving Shootout

Golden Eagles head to Las Vegas to participate in South Point Thanksgiving Shootout

By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (3-2) vs. Northern Illinois (2-3)
Game 6 • Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 • 3:15 p.m. (CT)
Las Vegas, Nev. • South Point Arena
Video Stream: Vimeo
Listen: 106.1 The Eagle (Dylan Vazzano)
Live Stats: Live Stats
Twitter Updates: @TTUWBB
Series Record: First Meeting

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles vs. Detroit Mercy Titans
Game 7 • Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 • 1 p.m. (CT)
Las Vegas, Nev. • South Point Arena
Video Stream: Vimeo
Listen: 106.1 The Eagle (Dylan Vazzano)
Live Stats: Live Stats
Twitter Updates: @TTUWBB
Series Record: First Meeting

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team travels to its furthest road contests of the season as it participates in the South Point Thanksgiving Classic at the South Point Arena on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30.

The Golden Eagles will play a pair of contests over the two-day affair, taking on a formidable Northern Illinois program on Friday, before closing out the tournament on Saturday with a tilt against the Detroit Mercy Titans.

About the Golden Eagles

Tech enters the weekend's tournament off the heels of a dominant 15-point road victory, 72-57, against the Samford Bulldogs Sunday afternoon.

About the Huskies

Northern Illinois entered the 2019-20 season following an impressive 19-15 2018-19 campaign that saw the Huskies earn a Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals berth. NIU has opened their current season to a 2-3 record. Both of the Huskies wins came in overtime road contests in which Northern Illinois defeated the North Dakota State Bison (74-68) and Colorado State (80-75). NIU fell short against Harvard (59-53), Illinois State (69-66), and Purdue (68-63), all of which came by six points or less.

The Huskies have a pair of scorers averaging double-digits and three averaging nine-plus, all of which have started all five contests for NIU. Leading the way is Courtney Woods, a redshirt senior guard, who is averaging 20 points per game, in addition to collecting 5.2 rebounds per game, dishing out a team-high 3.4 assists per game, and grabbing one steal per game. Riley Blackwell, a junior forward, is the second double-digit scorer for the Huskies, averaging 10 points per contest, and grabbing a second-best 6.4 rebounds per game. Gabby Nikitinaite follows closely behind as she averages 9.4 points per game, in addition to 4.2 rebounds per game, 2.2 assists per game, and 1.8 steals per game. Ally May leads the Huskies in rebounds with 6.5 boards per game and Mikayla Brandon leads NIU with three blocks through five contests. Individually, Woods ranks 18th nationally and second in the MAC in free throw percentage (93.8), 20th and leads the MAC in free throws made (30), and 36th in the NCAA in points per game (20).

In the NCAA, the Huskies rank 7th nationally in defensive boards per game (34.4), tied for 66th in 3-point field goals per game (7.6), and 86th in free throw percentage (.860).

About the Titans

Detroit Mercy is six games into the 2019-20 campaign and its 43rd season in program history. The Titans have opened the season with six-straight defeats against Loyola (60-89), No. 17 Michigan State (52-110), Butler (60-82), George Mason (62-75), Western Michigan (67-82), and Akron (60-81). Last season, the Titans finished their 2018-19 campaign 4-25 overall and 2-16 in Horizon League play.

Leading the offensive attack for the Titans is a pair of starters and a reserve player in Sylare Starks, Maxine Moore, and Nicole Johanson. Starks, a freshman guard, is scoring a team-high 9.7 points per contest, shooting 90 percent from the free throw line, and tying for second on the team with 1.16 steals per game. Moore, a sophomore forward, follows averaging 8.8 points per game, while pulling down 4.7 rebounds per contest. The third eight-plus point scorer for the Titans is Johanson, who is averaging 8.3 points per contest, while pulling down a second-best 5.5 rebounds per game and tying for a team-high five blocks on the season. Zoey Oatis leads the Titans defensively with a team-best 5.8 rebounds per game, dished out a team-high 11 assists, and tying for the team lead with five blocks through six contests.

As a team, Detroit ranks 58th in free throw attempts, 90th in three-point attempts, 113th in free throws made, and 121st in 3-pointers made nationally. Individually, Oatis rankes 86th second in the Horizon League in steals (13), and 118th and fifth in the Horizon in steals per game (2.17), while Starks ranks 120th in the NCAA in 3-point field goal attempts and third in the Horizon.

Golden Eagles vs. Northern Illinois & Detroit Mercy

This weekend's competitions represent the first-ever meetings between Tech and Northern Illinois and Detroit Mercy.

Career Performance

Junior guard Kesha Brady had the most impressive showing of her career this past weekend against the Samford Bulldogs, earning her first-ever OVC Player of the Week nod and second weekly OVC honor after earning OVC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 14, 2017.

Brady produced a breathtaking performance as she dropped a career-high 33 points, marking the most by a Golden Eagle since teammate Jordan Brock tallied 33 points on January 12, 2019 against Eastern Illinois. She connected on 9-of-13 field goals, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, and knocked down all 11 of her free throws, all of which were career-high marks. Brady also pulled down a team-high eight boards, stole the ball three times, and dished out a pair of assists in the win.

Approaching Milestones

Wilkinson set the school record last season for blocked shots in a season with a dominant 92 blocked shots during the 33-game campaign. Currently, Wilkinson sits 47 blocks away, with 148 career blocks, from breaking the school record of 194 career blocks, held by Melinda Clayton during her career from 1986-90. Additionally, Wilkinson's 1.9 blocks per game average currently leads the Tech record books.

Harris has collected 796 points throughout her career at Tech and is just 204 points shy of becoming the 31st player in Tech history to surpass the 1,000-point mark during their career as a Golden Eagle.

Brock has been a dominant long-range threat for the Golden Eagles ever since arriving in Cookeville. Brock currently sits 6th all-time in the Tech history books for made 3-pointers with 160 through 67 career contests and 66 away from breaking the school record of 225 held by current Tech assistant coach Allison Clark. Brock has also netted 761 career points as a Golden Eagle, putting her 239 points away from breaking the 1,000-point mark and becoming the 31st Golden Eagle in school history to achieve the feat.

A Look Ahead

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Tech will return to the Tri-Star State as it prepares for a matchup against SEC foe Vanderbilt on Thursday, December 5. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. from Memorial Gymnasium.

Photo by Thomas Corhern

Senior Golden Eagles
February 22, 2020 Senior Golden Eagles

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