By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
RICHMOND, Ky. – Tennessee Tech women's basketball opened up conference play on Thursday in explosive fashion as they handed the Eastern Kentucky Colonels an 18-point defeat, 60-42, inside McBrayer Arena.
"Any time you can hold a team in their house to 42 points, shooting 22 percent from the field and 24 percent from three, it's a good night," expressed head coach Kim Rosamond. "We had to rely on our defense tonight, because we struggled knocking down shots. This was a gritty, tough win. Toughness is what wins in this league, especially when you go on the road, you have to be tough. I thought our kids showed that tonight."
"EKU so far has been the most improved team in the league this season," said Rosamond. "This team has had some really big wins early, and it was big for us to get a quality road win to start conference play."
The Golden Eagles held the Eastern Kentucky Colonels to a paltry 22.2 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from the three. Tech also dominated the glass, outrebounding the Colonels 44-37, including an impressive 31-17 performance in the opening half.
Tech junior guard Kesha Brady led all players with 17 points. She also had five rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Junior forward Mackenzie Coleman joined Brady in double-figures with 12 points, shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, tying for a team-high eight boards, and season-high five blocks in the win. Freshman guard Maaliya Owens also had an important impact scoring nine points, including a pair of clutch 3-pointers at the end of the first period, and three boards.
"Kesha does so many things for us, from rebounding the basketball to getting to the free throw line every single game. Mackenzie Coleman was a strong presence for us in the paint and Akia Harris was a warrior for 37 minutes. We had a lot of people step up and make plays on both ends of the floor tonight."
The Golden Eagles did most of their damage over the first 10 minutes of play. Tech opened the contest on a 7-0 run. Eastern Kentucky managed to cut Tech's lead to six, 13-7, but a pair of 3-pointers from Maaliya Owens closed out the period to put Tech up by 12, 19-7.
Tech would continue the pressure in the second quarter as they held Eastern Kentucky to only 10 more points over the final 10 minutes of the half to take a 15-point lead into halftime. EKU's 17 first-half points was its second-lowest total of the season, with their nine against Butler being the lowest. EKU did not have an answer to Tech's dominant post presence in the opening half as the Golden Eagles pulled down 31 rebounds, while the Colonel's only collected 17.
Jordan Brock rattled in her first three on the day to open the third period and spark an 8-2 Tech run give Tech its first 21-point lead of the contest at the seven-minute mark, 40-19. EKU closed out the period, bringing the deficit to 20, 49-29, heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
The Golden Eagles would ride their lead through the end of the contest as the Eastern Kentucky Colonels would produce their only positive quarter of the contest in the fourth, 13-11, as Tech sealed the 18-point victory, 60-42.
"Morehead has been a challenging matchup for us the last several years, but we are excited to get another opportunity against them on Saturday," said Rosamond. "Coach Todd does a tremendous job. His team will be well prepared, and we will have to defend as well as we did against EKU, but also put more points on the board to have a chance to finish this road trip 2-0."
The Golden Eagles head to Morehead, Ky. on Saturday to take on the Morehead State Eagles at 12 p.m. CT inside Johnson Arena.
Photo by Thomas Corhern