Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (15-4, 8-0 OVC) vs. Belmont Bruins (12-7, 7-1 OVC)
Game 20 • Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 • 5:00 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, 27-21 (Last: Tech L 62-48, 3/8/19)
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tech will defend its spot at the top of the OVC on Thursday as it hosts the Belmont Bruins at 5 p.m. inside the Hooper Eblen Center.
About the Golden Eagles
The Golden Eagles enter this weekend's competition on an 11-game winning streak, Tech's longest since the 2000-01 season. Tech has also won eight-straight conference games so far this season, which also marks the Golden Eagles best start to OVC play since the 2000-01 season. Junior Kesha Brady has led the Golden Eagles this season, averaging 16.1 points per game. Juniors Mackenzie Coleman and Jordan Brock join Brady in double-figures this season with 11.2 and 11.1 points per game this season.
About the Bruins
The Bruins enter Thursday's game on a four-game winning streak and a 7-1 record in conference play so far this season. The Bruins only loss in conference play came against the UT Martin Skyhawks. Ellie Harmeyer leads the Bruins offensively, averaging 17.9 points per game this season. She has also averaged a team-leading 11.5 rebounds per game this season. As a team, the Bruins are averaging 60.7 points per game, while holding their opponents to 58.5 points per game this season.
Tech vs. Belmont
The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series against Belmont, 27-21. In Cookeville, Tech holds an all-time lead of 10-6. The Golden Eagles also hold a lead in Nashville, 9-6, and 2-1 at neutral locations. However, Belmont holds the all-time lead over Tech at unknown sites, 8-6. The last meeting between the two squads was during last year's OVC tournament, which Belmont knocked the Golden Eagles out in a 62-48 victory on March 8, 2019.
Last Time Out
Tech survived a double-overtime thriller against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, which was the program's first-ever double-overtime victory.
Four Golden Eagles recorded double-digit performances through the six-period affair. Senior Akia Harris led the way for Tech, producing her best performance of the season. She was named the Special Olympics Player of the Game, scoring a season-high 19 points, while shooting 50 percent (8-of-16) from the field and 60 percent (3-of-5) from 3-point range. Harris also led the team with a pair of steals and recorded the team's only block in the contest. Juniors Kesha Brady, Jordan Brock, and Mackenzie Coleman followed right behind, tallying 18, 17, and 16 points respectively. Coleman, fellow junior Abby Buckner, and freshman Jada Guinn tied for a team-high seven boards, while Buckner dished out a career-high seven assists in the win.
Cracking the Top 25
Riding an impressive 15-4 overall and 8-0 OVC record, the Golden Eagles best start to conference play since the 2000-01 season, Tech received national attention this week as the Golden Eagles were slotted in at No. 23 in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
The Golden Eagles have held 15 of their 19 opponents below 70 points this season, 11 of which were held below 60 points. Through 19 games, the Golden Eagles have surrendered just 61.5 points per game.
The Golden Eagles have opened the scoring in 13 of their 19 contests this season, with the only six games proving differently being against Southern Illinois, Middle Tennessee, Western Carolina, Morehead State, Austin Peay, and Eastern Kentucky. Tech has also outscored its opponents 338-264 in the first quarter and 662-524 over the first 20 minutes so far this season, leading to an average halftime score of 35-28.
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.
Anacia Wilkinson set the school record last season for blocked shots in a season with a dominant 92 blocked shots. She has collected 176 blocks throughout her career as a Golden Eagle, sitting just 19 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 1.9 blocks per contest average currently leads the Tech record books.
Akia Harris has collected 903 points throughout her career at Tech and is just 97 points shy of becoming the 31st player in Tech history to surpass the 1,000-point 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 No. 2 all-time at Tech in made 3-pointers with 196 through 81 contests and 30 away from breaking the school record, held by current assistant coach Allison Clark. Brock has also netted 918 career points as a Golden Eagle, putting her 82 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
Tech will close out its homestand on Saturday as the Golden Eagles host Tennessee State at 5:30 p.m. inside the Hooper Eblen Center. The game will be televised on WCTE and streamed online on ESPN+.