By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – After a tough loss on Saturday, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team will look to dust off their shoulders and get back into the Ohio Valley Conference fracas this week with a pair of important conference matchups at Southeast Missouri and UT Martin.
Up first for the Golden Eagles is a trip to Cape Girardeau to take on the Redhawks. The women's contest is still scheduled for a 5 p.m. tipoff, while the men's game has been postponed. Dylan Vazzano will provide the call for 106.1 The Eagle, while the game will also be streamed on ESPN+ (subscription required).
Saturday's loss to Murray State, on the surface, might be a game Tech (7-7, 2-2 OVC) would want to forget, but at the same time, it can prove to be a motivational tool. It was an uncharacteristic performance as the Golden Eagles scored their fewest points, had their fewest rebounds, made their fewest shots and had the third-lowest shooting percentage of the year, trailing Middle Tennessee and Tennessee.
With a week separating a victory at Murray State and the return-game loss in the strangest of circumstances as the originally scheduled game against Eastern Illinois had to be postponed and the Racers were able to make the trip to Cookeville on short notice, it was an intriguing contrast.
Now, the Golden Eagles can learn from it and try to use those lessons to take on a Southeast Missouri team that has been a thorn in their sides in recent years. In the all-time series, Tech claims a 32-25 advantage over the Redhawks. However, SEMO has won the last seven, including an overtime heartbreaker in the 2020 OVC tournament, and nine of the last 10. The last Tech win was Dec. 29, 2016, in head coach Kim Rosamond's first game against the Redhawks and at the Show Me Center.
Southeast Missouri enters Thursday's contest with a 4-11 record and 0-4 in the Ohio Valley. Don't overlook the Redhawks with that 0-4 mark though – they dropped an 82-58 decision at Murray State, a 72-62 loss at home to Austin Peay, an 85-65 loss at Belmont and an 83-64 loss at 4-0 Tennessee State.
Their non-conference losses are against some impressive opponents with Texas and Stephen F. Austin standing among the top 25 winningest programs in women's basketball (as are Belmont and Tennessee Tech), as well as a Xavier team that has been a solid program in recent years.
SEMO is averaging 64.6 points a game, while allowing 73.5. The Redhawks can still shoot the ball at a decent pace, hitting a .405 clip, while opponents are hitting .423. They have attempted 21 fewer 3-pointers this season than the Golden Eagles have, hitting 72 of 245 attempts (.294), but opponents have knocked in 81 of 266 tries for a .305 mark.
The Redhawks have also seen their opponents go to the line for nearly 100 more free throws. SEMO is hitting .683 at the stripe, while its foes are .716, hitting 227 of 317 free throws.
Roshala Scott leads SEMO with an 11.3-point average, while Deanay Watson is averaging 11.1 points and a team-best 5.7 rebounds. Taelor Pruitt is averaging 9.6 points and has a team-high 52 assists.
Even with Saturday's loss to the Racers, the Golden Eagles have won five of their last seven games and stand at .500 on the season, both in overall and conference record, in a season that included one of the most challenging non-conference slates in program history.
Tech is shooting .439 from the field, including .316 from 3-point range and .723 at the free-throw line. Even after a tough day on the glass, the Golden Eagles are outrebounding their opponents 35.4 to 30.8.
Mackenzie Coleman leads the Golden Eagles in scoring, averaging 11.2 points per game, while Anna Jones is averaging 10.8 and a team-high 6.2 rebounds. Jada Guinn (9.4 ppg) and Anna Walker (9.0 ppg) are just on the cusp of averaging double digits in scoring.
Walker was named the OVC's Newcomer of the Week on Tuesday after averaging 18.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. She missed tying her career-high in scoring by one point with 21 against Morehead State.
Tech will travel to UT Martin on Saturday, then return home next Thursday for a home visit from SIUE in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
Tickets for Tennessee Tech home games are on sale. Call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office or visit TTUsports.com to order.
Photo | Jim Dillon