By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Southeast Missouri Redhawks are a tough and physical team, and it proved to be just a little too much for Tennessee Tech women's basketball on Saturday, falling in a hard-fought 87-72 battle inside the Show Me Center.
"SEMO was the tougher, more physical team," expressed head coach Kim Rosamond. "They owned the second quarter, and they showed why they are the best offensive rebounding team in the OVC. They absolutely wore us out on the glass. They were the better team today in every facet of the game."
The Golden Eagles fall to 16-7 on the season, and 9-3 in OVC play. The Southeast Missouri Redhawks moved to 18-5 overall and 10-2 in conference play.
Three Golden Eagles tallied double-digit scoring in the contest. Leading the way was freshman Maaliya Owens, who came off the bench for a career-high 18 points. Owens shot 6-of-12 from the field, 4-of-8 from 3-point range, and a perfect 2-of-2 from the line.
Joining Owens in double-digits was senior Akia Harris and Mackenzie Coleman. Harris netted 12 points, shooting 3-of-8 from the field, 1-of-2 from long-range, and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. She also dished out a game-high eight assists. Coleman scored 11 points in the contest, shooting 4-of-5 from the field, and a perfect 1-of-1 from 3-point range, as well as 2-of-2 from the free throw line.
The opening period was a back-and-forth battle. Southeast Missouri scored first, but the Golden Eagles returned blows to bring things to a 7-6 Redhawk lead. SEMO netted seven unanswered points to take an eight-point advantage, 14-6, at the 7-minute mark. The Golden Eagles rallied over the following five minutes of clock to mount a 17-8 run to retake a one-point lead with 2:30 to play in the quarter. However, the Redhawks reclaimed the momentum to close the period on an 8-3 rally to lead by four, 30-26.
The second quarter was a tough one for Tech. A Harris layup and a jump shot from Coleman closed the deficit to three, 33-30, at the 7-minute mark. However, Southeast Missouri held the Golden Eagles scoreless over the following five minutes of clock to break things away and hold a 13-point lead, 43-30, with a little over two minutes remaining in the half. The Redhawks extended their lead to 15 points by halftime to take a 47-32 lead into the break.
The Golden Eagles struggled to keep the Redhawks off the boards, as SEMO out-rebounded Tech 17-7. Tech also gave up 12 turnovers, while only causing six over the first 20 minutes.
Tech flipped the script in the third quarter. After staring down a 53-37 deficit at the 7:20-minute mark. The Golden Eagles mounted an impressive comeback, holding Southeast Missouri to 10 points en route to a 19-10 rally and close the game within seven points heading into the final quarter of play, 63-56.
The Golden Eagles looked to finally close the gap in the fourth quarter, but the Redhawks had a different plan. Southeast Missouri opened the fourth on a 6-2 run to lead 69-58. A pair of free throws from Owens brought things back within nine, 69-60, but that was as close as the Golden Eagles got. The Redhawks maintained their advantage and outscored the Golden Eagles 18-12 to eventually close the game at its 87-72 final.
The Redhawks dominated the glass, out-rebounding Tech 44-28, including a 21-12 mark in offensive boards. Both teams shot well with Southeast Missouri shooting 51 percent, while the Golden Eagles shot 43 percent in the contest. However, the Redhawks attempted 17 more shots and netted 13 more field goals over the 40-minute clash.
"We showed some fight and toughness in the second half," said Rosamond. "At the end of the day, we have to figure out how to rebound, defend and execute offensively for four quarters. It's my job to get this team there, and we will go back to work on Monday and work to find solutions to the things that are holding us back."
The Golden Eagles return to the Hoop on Thursday, February 13 as they host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks during Education Day. Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern