By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE – It's been an interesting, exciting and instructional non-conference schedule so far for the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team. From adversity, the team has come together and is just under two weeks away from opening the Ohio Valley Conference schedule.
The Golden Eagles will wrap up the non-conference slate on Tuesday as they host the Samford Bulldogs in a 2 p.m. matinee. Roger Ealey will provide the call on 106.1 The Eagle, while Joe Fisher and Frank Harrell will handle broadcast duties on ESPN+ (subscription required).
Samford enters the contest with a 4-8 record, but have won three of its last five games, defeating Talladega College 88-70 and UAB 77-68, as well as Ohio Valley Conference foe Murray State 75-66. If anyone can relate to how difficult of a schedule the beginning of the 2021-22 season has been, the Bulldogs are right up there – Samford took losses to Iowa, Jacksonville State, Southern Miss, Colorado, Troy and Ole Miss.
Andrea Cournoyer leads the Bulldogs in scoring, averaging 17.8 points per game with 214 total through the first 12 games. Shauntai Battle is almost to the century mark with 95 points, averaging 7.5 per game, while Natalie Armstrong is averaging 8.1 points.
As a team, Samford is shooting .420 from the field, scoring 61.8 points per game, while allowing 68.9. The Bulldogs are shooting .312 from long range and .701 from the free-throw line. Samford does like to shoot the three-ball, averaging 6.1 tries per game and knocking down 73 of its 234 tries. In comparison, the Golden Eagles are averaging 5.8 tries per game and have hit 58 of 194 shots.
Samford has put together an almost similar effort at the free-throw line, shooting .701 as the Bulldogs have hit 110 of 157 tries. Their opponents have also been able to draw more attempts at the line – 191 to 157. It's the opposite for the Golden Eagles – the opponents have drawn 190 fouls to Tech's 153, giving Tech 201 tries at the free-throw line to the opponents' 146.
One strength that Samford has is it can disrupt opposing offenses and steal the ball away, collecting 108 steals, an average of 9.0 per game – and that's even with the opponents averaging 10.9, a number possibly inflated by the opponents the Bulldogs have faced this season. Tech has 76 steals, an average of 7.6 per game.
The Golden Eagles come into Tuesday's game on a three-game winning streak, knocking off Western Kentucky, Western Carolina and Tennessee Wesleyan to get back to .500 on the season and bounce back from the five-game slide around the Thanksgiving holiday.
Tech knows all too well about difficult schedules, facing Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee, FGCU, New Mexico State, Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Western Carolina in succession, the last two serving as the victories in that run.
For the season, Tech is shooting .439 from the field, .299 from 3-point range and .706 from the free-throw line. Mackenzie Coleman (120) and Anna Jones (109) have both pushed past the century mark in scoring this season and are both averaging over double-figures through the first 10 games of the season.
Jones also leads the team in rebounds with 6.1 per game and Coleman with 5.6, while Jada Guinn is averaging 3.9 assists per game. Coleman also leads the team with 1.2 blocks per game.
In the last five games, Tech is averaging 65.8 points per game to its opponents' 59.6, while shooting .441 from the field, .330 from beyond the arc and .673 from the charity stripe. Coleman is averaging 14.2 points in this grouping, while Jones is averaging 11.2.
Tickets for Tuesday's game are on sale. Call (931) 372-3940 to order, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office or visit TTUsports.com.
Photo | Jim Dillon