Golden Eagles continue homestand and prepare for Murray State on Saturday

Golden Eagles continue homestand and prepare for Murray State on Saturday

By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (10-4, 3-0 OVC) vs. Murray State (8-6, 1-2 OVC)
Game 15 • Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 • 5:30 p.m. (CT)
Cookeville, Tenn. • Hooper Eblen Center
Video Stream: ESPN+ (Dylan Vazzano & Frank Harrell)
Listen: 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Live Stats: Statbroadcast
Twitter Updates: @TTUWBB
Series Record: Tech leads, 65-18 (Last: Tech W 74-65, 2/2/19)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Golden Eagles continue their homestand and look to remain unbeaten in OVC play as they host the Murray State Racers for a 5:30 p.m. showdown on Saturday inside the Hooper Eblen Center.

About the Golden Eagles

Tech remains tied for first in the Ohio Valley Conference standings and carries a six-game winning streak, including three-straight wins in OVC play, into Saturday's matchup against Murray State. The Golden Eagles (10-4, 3-0 OVC) earned a weekend sweep over Eastern Kentucky (60-42) and Morehead State (75-55) to open OVC play, before returning to the Hooper Eblen Center on Thursday to remain unbeaten with a nine-point comeback victory over the Austin Peay Governors (58-49).

­Kesha Brady has led the Golden Eagles, averaging 14.8 points per game, while Mackenzie Coleman joins her in double-digits with 10.9 points per game through 14 contests. Akia Harris has commanded Tech's offense this season, leading the team with 4.8 assists per game. Anacia Wilkinson leads the on the glass with 6.8 rebounds per game and a team-high 2.6 blocks per game. Jada Guinn has collected a team-high 18 steals through the Golden Eagles 14 contests this season.

About the Racers

The Racers (8-6, 1-2 OVC) enter this weekend with an 8-6 overall record, including a 1-2 mark in OVC play. Murray State suffered a 25-point loss against the UT Martin, 89-64, to open conference play, but bounced back to defeat Southeast Missouri 70-62 to even their conference record. The Racers traveled to Jacksonville, Ala. on Thursday to take on the Jacksonville State Gamecocks but fell in their second OVC contest of the season, 68-51, heading into Saturday's game.

Macey Turley, who is tied for second in the OVC in scoring so far this season, leads the Racers offensive attack with 17.9 points per game and is the sole Murray State player to average double-figures. Turley has also dished out a team-leading 4.6 assists per game and collected 2.2 steals per game. Laci Hawthorne ties for a team second-best nine points per game but leads the Racers on the boards with 7.2 rebounds per contest and a team second-best .93 blocks per game, just behind Cekeya Mack who averages a team-leading 1.2 blocks per game.

Tech vs. Murray State

Tech leads the all-time series over the Racers 65-18. The Golden Eagles hold their best record over the Racers on their home court, leading Murray State 33-5 in Cookeville. In Murray, Ky., Tech holds a 23-13 record on the Racers home floor. In neutral sites, the Golden Eagles haven't lost against the Racers, leading 6-0, and the Golden Eagles also lead the Racers 3-0 in a trio of unknown locations. During their last meeting, the Golden Eagles earned a 74-65 victory over the Racers in front in front of their home crowd on Feb. 2, 2019, which was the Golden Eagles sole game against Murray State last season.

Last Time Out

On Thursday, the Golden Eagles rallied in the fourth quarter to secure a nine-point victory over the Austin Peay Governors, 58-49, which pushed Tech to its third-straight OVC victory and six-straight overall win.

Tech had a really balanced offensive attack against the Govs. Juniors Kesha Brady and Jordan Brock led the way with 11 points apiece, while also pulling down three boards each. They were followed closely by senior Akia Harris (named Special Olympics Player of the Game for helping spark the comeback) and junior Mackenzie Coleman, who netted nine points each. Mackenzie Coleman led the Golden Eagles on the glass with a team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Jada Guinn garnered a career-high three blocks and tied for a team-high two steals with Brady.

Back-to-back Freshman of the Week

Freshman guard Maaliya Owens stepped up in a big way in her first-ever weekend of OVC play, garnering the second Freshman of the Week nod of her young career. Owens scored nine points, shooting 38 percent (3-of-8) from the field and 43 percent (3-of-7) from beyond the arc, in addition to adding three rebounds against the Colonels. Owens finished the weekend with a team second-best 14 points, shooting 50 percent (5-of-10) from the field and a perfect 100 percent (4-of-4) from 3-point range, while adding two steals and a board during the Golden Eagles impressive 20-point victory over the Morehead State Eagles.

The honor marks the second of her career and the third for the Golden Eagles this season. Owens also becomes the first Golden Eagle to win multiple weekly honors during the same season since teammate Akia Harris, who was a three-time Freshman of the Week recipient during the 2016-17 season. She also becomes the first Golden Eagle to earn back-to-back OVC weekly honors since Brittany Darling received Newcomer of the Week on Feb. 7 and Feb. 14. during the 2010-11 season.

Hot Starts

The Golden Eagles have opened the scoring in nine of their 14 contests this season, with the only three games proving differently being against Southern Illinois, Middle Tennessee, and Western Carolina. Tech has also outscored its opponents 252-175 in the first quarter and 487-358 over the first 20 minutes so far this season, leading to an average halftime score of 35-26.

Approaching Milestones

Anacia Wilkinson set the school record last season for blocked shots in a season with a dominant 92 blocked shots. She has collected 172 blocks throughout her career as a Golden Eagle, sitting just 23 blocks away from breaking the school record of 194 career blocks, set by Melinda Clayton during her four-year Golden Eagle career from 1986-90. On a per game basis, Wilkinson's 2.0 blocks per contest average currently leads the Tech record books.

Akia Harris has collected 851 points throughout her career at Tech and is just 149 points shy of becoming the 31st player in Tech history to surpass the 1,000-points mark during their career as a Golden Eagle.

Jordan Brock has been a dominant long-range threat for the Golden Eagles ever since arriving in Cookeville. Brock currently sits 5th all-time at Tech in made 3-pointers with 179 through 76 contests and 46 away from breaking the school record, held by current assistant coach Allison Clark. Brock has also netted 841 career points as a Golden Eagle, putting her 159 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

The Golden Eagles will hit the road again next week as they travel to Illinois for road contests against SIUE on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 5:30 p.m. CT, and close out the weekend against Eastern Illinois on Jan. 18. Tipoff against EIU is slated for 1 p.m. CT.

Photo by Thomas Corhern