By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Ohio Valley Conference race continues to be a tight one with three games separating the top five teams.
The Tennessee Tech women will try to do their part to stay toward the top of the standings as the Golden Eagles take on SIUE on Saturday. Tipoff from First Community Arena is set for 1 p.m.
Belmont, at 11-2 in the league, holds a one-game lead on the Golden Eagles (10-3) and travels to Southeast Missouri on Saturday. Austin Peay is a half-game back at 9-3, playing a makeup game at UT Martin on Monday after hosting Tennessee State on Saturday. Meanwhile, Murray State (9-4), Eastern Illinois (8-5) and Tennessee State (6-7) are still in the hunt. UT Martin at 5-7 and SIUE at 5-8 are pretty much assured of a spot in the conference tournament but could still make things interesting for the teams ahead of them.
It seems like ages since the Tech women last played SIUE – a nationally televised game on ESPNU on January 20 – but there have been seven games since, with makeup games mixed in. Tech is 6-1 since the two teams last met – a loss at home to Belmont being the only blemish. The Golden Eagles recovered from last Saturday's defeat with a thrilling 65-56 victory on Thursday night at Eastern Illinois. Mackenzie Coleman picked up her 11th career double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds against the Panthers.
SIUE, in the meantime, has dropped four straight games, its last victory coming on Jan. 29 at SEMO. Since then, the Cougars have dropped two games to Eastern Illinois, a game at Murray State, then a 67-62 barn-burner on Thursday to UT Martin.
Gabby Nikitinaite led the Cougars with 18 points, a trio of 3-pointers included, while Mikayla Kinnard added 13 and Allie Troeckler had 10. The Skyhawks pulled ahead late, using the second-chance rebounds to outscore SIUE 16-5.
Nikitinaite is leading SIUE in scoring this season with 13.4 points, while Kinnard is also averaging double-digits with 11.7. Troeckler leads the team in rebounding with 5.6 boards a game, while also hovering close to the decade-mark in scoring with 9.7 points a game.
In league play only, SIUE is averaging 67.2 points a game, while allowing 72.6. The Cougars are shooting .409 from the field, opponents .454. The team is outrebounding opponents 35.1 to 34.8. Against conference foes, Nikitinaite, Kinnard and Troeckler are averaging 13.3, 11.6 and 10.6 points respectively.
In conference play, Tech is outscoring opponents 67.7 to 61.8 a night, shooting .437 from the field while opponents are shooting .450, and outrebounding opponents 34.7 to 29.5.
Dylan Vazzano will have the call on 106.1 The Eagle, while the game will also be streamed on ESPN+ (subscription required).
Tech returns home Thursday for a visit from Southeast Missouri. Tickets are on sale now at the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office, online at TTUsports.com or by calling (931) 372-3940.