EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Tech junior guard Kesha Brady scored a career second-best 28 points to lead Tennessee Tech in a 65-50 victory over SIUE on Thursday inside First Community Arena at the Vadalabene Center.
"Our players continue to find a way to win, especially on the road," expressed head coach Kim Rosamond. "SIUE is a place we have struggled the last several years, and I am proud of our players for checking another box and getting our first win in Edwardsville in seven seasons."
Tennessee Tech remains tied for first in the OVC along with UT Martin with a 5-0 record in league play, while SIUE (3-13, 1-4 OVC) falls in its third-straight straight conference game.
"As tough and challenging as our non-conference schedule was, especially playing away from home 7 straight games, the early grind has prepared us," said Rosamond. "We had to figure out how to win on the road the first month and a half of the season, and our players learned we had to fuel our tank on the defensive end each and every night. Tonight, we got great shots in the paint in the second half and just couldn't get them to fall; but our kids just kept working on the defensive end and getting stops. We also made some strides in the rebounding category. There is still much work to be done on the glass, but I saw a great deal of improvement tonight."
Three Golden Eagles scored double-figures in the contest. Brady led the way, netting her 28 points on (10-of-16) from the field, 50 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range, and 80 percent (4-of-5) from the free throw line. Brady also grabbed four boards and dished out a team-high three assists. Senior Akia Harris and junior Jordan Brock joined Brady scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively. Tech's other senior, Anacia Wilkinson, dominated the boards for the Golden Eagles, pulling down a career-high 15 rebounds in the win.
"Kesha Brady set the tone from the tip," said Rosamond. "She scored the first basket off the jump ball and never looked back. Kesha did a little bit of everything tonight and played a crucial part in the big run we made right before half to put us up 14. I loved her poise, decision making and effort tonight."
"Naci had one of her best rebounding games," expressed Rosamond. "She showed a lot of toughness on the boards against a very athletic, aggressive SIUE team who rebounds the ball as well as any team in the league. She and Akia continue to step up nightly and lead the way you expect seniors to lead."
The opening period opened to a back-and-forth battle until a 3-pointer from Brady put the Golden Eagles up by one, 7-6. Tech scored four unanswered to lead by five, 11-6, but the Cougars responded with five of their own to even the game at 11. Tech produced a 7-3 run to take an 18-14 lead, but a late SIUE 3-pointer cut the Golden Eagles lead to one, 18-17, heading into the second.
SIUE scored five unanswered to open the second frame and take their largest lead of the contest, 22-18. The two teams traded buckets to a 24-20 Cougar lead, before the Golden Eagles produce a 20-2 lead from the 7:14-minute mark of the second quarter through the end of the half to enter the locker room with an impressive 14-point lead, 40-26.
Tech rode their 14-point advantage through the end of the game as they would outscore the Cougars 25-24 over the final 20 minutes of play to secure the 65-50 victory.
Brock connected on back-to-back 3-pointers at the 6:06 and 5:35-minute marks of the third quarter, lifting her to No. 2 all-time in the Tech record books for made 3-pointers. She sits just 41 made threes away (184) from Tech record-holder and Golden Eagle assistant coach Allison Clark.
"Jordan is one of the best shooters in the country, and we are proud of her for moving into No. 2 for career 3-pointers made at Tech," said Rosamond. "When you think about the great shooters who have worn a Tech uniform, it gives you perspective on how good she has been in a short amount of time. To have the No. 1 and No. 2 sharpshooters in program history on our bench, assistant coach Allison Clark and Jordan Brock, is pretty special."
SIUE had two double-digit scorers with Mikia Keith leading the way with 12, followed by Mikayla Kinnard with 10 points in the contest. The Cougars benched outscored the Golden Eagles reserves 23-10.
The Golden Eagles finished 36 percent (21-of-58) from the field, 37 percent (7-of-19) from 3-point range, and 70 percent (16-of-23) from the free throw line, while holding the Cougars to 33 percent (20-of-60) from the field, 33 percent (4-of-12) from 3-point range, and 38 percent (6-of-16) from the line.
"EIU is having one of the best seasons they have had in almost a decade. They have won three-straight OVC games and are playing with a lot of confidence. It's always a battle when we play each other, and I expect Saturday to be no different."
The Golden Eagles have a quick turnaround as they head to Charleston, Ill. to take on the Eastern Illinois Panthers on Saturday at Lantz Arena. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. CT.