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Golden Eagle women look to avenge early loss to Tennessee State on Thursday

Golden Eagle women look to avenge early loss to Tennessee State on Thursday

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information 

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It's the last week of the regular season – can't hold anything back. As the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team enters its final two games of the Ohio Valley Conference slate, there's plenty to strive for. 

The Golden Eagles (17-9, 12-4 OVC) still have a chance at tying Belmont for a share of the OVC title, standing two games back from the Bruins. Belmont (18-7, 14-2 OVC) is at Murray State on Thursday and hosts Tennessee State on Saturday. Murray State (20-7, 12-4 OVC), who is currently tied with Tech in the standings, also travels to Southeast Missouri on Saturday. Austin Peay, just a game back at 11-5 in the conference, is at SIUE and Eastern Illinois.

The bright side, Tech is assured of at least one merit bye at next week's OVC Basketball Championship as no matter what happens the rest of the way as the Golden Eagles can drop no lower than fourth in the standings. That's not to say the Tech women are satisfied with that – far from it as the Golden Eagles are still looking toward raising another banner in the Eblen Center. 

It all starts Thursday night with a visit from Tennessee State. The last time the two teams met left a sour taste in the Golden Eagles' mouths as the host Tigers tied the game on free throws on a last-second shot attempt to send the game into overtime, then a desperation heave from just across mid-court went in to give TSU the 96-93 victory back in December. 

The Tigers, under the second-year direction of Ty Evans, are much improved from a season ago and proved themselves very capable with a strong start to OVC play, winning five of their first six. Since then, however, they have lost nine of their last 10 games. 

Back on that December loss, the Golden Eagles were missing a major piece as Anna Jones was out in the previous meeting. With the numbers she's putting up recently – scoring double-digits for the last 10 games in a row – her presence could play a major factor. In the last 10 games alone, Jones is averaging 17.8 points and 8.7 rebounds, leading the team in both categories. 

For the Tigers, freshman Gia Adams is leading the way with 13.2 points per game, while Tatyana Davis is averaging 12.9 for their double-digit scorers. Dominique Claytor is pulling down a team-best 5.9 rebounds per game, while Sierra McCullough (5.4 rpg) and Elise Harden (5.0 rpg) are also averaging five or more rebounds. 

TSU does like to attack teams with speed and physicality. The Tigers have created 352 steals this season, leading the conference in steals and turnovers forced – an average of 23.22 per game. 

On the other hand, Tech has been able to use that to its advantage, leading the OVC in free-throw attempts and second in free-throws made, ranking third and eighth in those categories nationally. 

In league play only, TSU is averaging 65.0 points per game, while allowing 69.3. Adams is scoring 13.4 points a night, while Davis (12.9 ppg) and Claytor (11.1 ppg) are also in double digits. Opponents are outrebounding the Tigers 35.5 to 30.1. The team is shooting .428 from the floor, .273 from 3-point range and .712 at the line. 

For Tech, Jones is scoring 15.4 points a night in OVC play and averaging 8.0 rebounds, while Mackenzie Coleman is averaging 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds and Jada Guinn is averaging 9.9 points and 5.7 boards. As a team, Tech is outscoring opponents 67.1 to 62.1, outrebounding opponents 35.8 to 29.8 and shooting .427 from the field, .324 from 3-point range and .713 from the stripe. 

Roger Ealey will have the call on 106.1 The Eagle, while Dylan Vazzano and Frank Harrell will handle the broadcast on ESPN+ (subscription required). Carson Crouch and Franklin McCarthy will have the student radio broadcast on 88.5 WTTU, and Sam Brooks and Mindy Odom will call the game on TV on WCTE. 

Tickets for Thursday's and Saturday's games at the Eblen Center are on sale now. Call (931) 372-3940, visit the Eblen Center ticket office or visit TTUsports.com. 

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