Tech women's basketball prepped for home rematch Thursday against in-state rival UT Martin

Tech women's basketball prepped for home rematch Thursday against in-state rival UT Martin

By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (17-8, 10-4 OVC) vs. UT Martin Skyhawks (16-9, 12-2 OVC)
Game 26 • Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 • 5:30 p.m. (CT)
Cookeville, Tenn. • Hooper Eblen Center
Video Stream: ESPN+
Listen: 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Live Stats: Statbroadcast
Twitter Updates: @TTUWBB
Series Record: Tech leads, 46-24 (Last: Tech L 71-62, 2/6/20)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech women's basketball looks to continue its momentum on Thursday as it hosts the UT Martin Skyhawks for a 5:30 p.m. matchup inside the Hooper Eblen Center.

About the Golden Eagles

The Golden Eagles are coming off a split weekend in which Tech fell against Jacksonville State (66-50), before closing out the weekend with an 81-69 victory over Tennessee State to snap a three-game skid. Tech currently sits fourth in the OVC with a 17-8 record on the season, and a 10-4 mark in OVC play.

Junior Kesha Brady leads Tech, averaging 15.3 points per game this season. Juniors Mackenzie Coleman and Jordan Brock have also registered double-figure averages this season, netting 11.1 and 10.7 points per game this season, respectively. Defensively, senior Anacia Wilkinson has averaged a team-leading 6.4 rebounds per game and blocked 51 shots throughout the season.

As a team, Tech leads the OVC in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc, and assists with 15.4 per game. The Golden Eagles also rank runner-up in scoring offense, averaging 71 points per game, scoring margin with a positive 8.3, 3-point field goals made, averaging 8.3 long-balls per contest, and assist/turnover ratio at an even 1.0.

About the Skyhawks

UT Martin enters Thursday's contest tied for the conference lead with Southeast Missouri and Belmont. The Skyhawks carry a 16-9 overall record and a 12-2 mark in league play.

The Skyhawks lead the OVC in field goal percentage, shooting 50 percent from the field, and are second in the conference in blocked shots with 4.7 per game and steals, averaging 10.1 per contest.

The trio of Chelsey Perry, Damiah Griffin, and Maddie Waldrop have led the Skyhawks offense this season. Perry has averaged an OVC-leading 23 points per game on 50 percent shooting this season, while Griffin and Waldrop have also averaged double-figures with 12 and 11.7 points, respectively.

Tech vs. UT Martin

Tech holds the all-time series lead against the Skyhawks, 46-23. The Golden Eagles hold advantages in Cookeville, 21-5, Martin, 17-11, and at unknown locations, 1-0. While UT Martin holds an 8-7 lead at neutral locations. In their first meeting this season, the Golden Eagles and Skyhawks battled through a two-point game with three minutes remaining before UT Martin broke away to win 71-62 in Martin on Feb. 6.

Last Time Out

The Golden Eagles bounced back from a three-game skid in an 81-69 road victory over the Tennessee State Tigers at the Gentry Center. After taking a 5-4 lead, the Golden Eagles never relinquished the lead, outscoring the Tigers 22-14 in the first, 21-20 in the second, and 20-12 in the third to hold on for the 12-point win.

Four Golden Eagles netted double-figure totals in the contest. Junior Kesha Brady led the way with 21 points, marking her sixth 20-plus point game of the season. She added three rebounds and a pair of steals. Senior Akia Harris tallied her first double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, narrowly missing a triple-double with a game-high eight assists. Harris shot 3-of-7 from the floor and knocked down a season-high 9-of-10 from the line.

Junior Mackenzie Coleman and senior Anacia Wilkinson joined Brady and Harris in double-figures, netting 14 and 10 points respectively in the win.

Stingy Defense

The Golden Eagles have held 19 of their 25 opponents below 70 points this season, 13 of which were held below 60 points. Through 25 games, the Golden Eagles have surrendered just 62.7 points per game. Since the beginning of the 2018-19 season, the Golden Eagles hold a 29-6 advantage when holding opponents to 65 points or less.

Hot Starts

The Golden Eagles have opened the scoring in 15 of their 25 contests this season, with the 10 games proving differently being against Southern Illinois, Middle Tennessee, Western Carolina, Morehead State, Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee State, UT Martin, Southeast Missouri, and Jacksonville State. Tech has also outscored its opponents 435-374 in the first quarter and 848-713 over the first 20 minutes so far this season, leading to an average halftime score of 34-29.

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 187 blocks throughout her career as a Golden Eagle, sitting just eight 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 957 points throughout her career at Tech and is just 43 points shy of becoming the 31st player in Tech history to surpass the 1,000-point mark during their career as a Golden Eagle. She also ranks No. 7 all-time in assists with 494 and needs just four to surpass No. 6 all-time.

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 208 through 87 contests and 18 away from breaking the school record, held by current assistant coach Allison Clark. Brock has also netted 975 career points as a Golden Eagle, putting her 25 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 closes out its regular season home slate on Saturday, hosting the Southeast Missouri Redhawks for their annual Play4Kay game and Senior Day at 2 p.m. inside the Hooper Eblen Center.

Photo by Thomas Corhern