By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
DALLAS, Texas – If there were still any bad memories from the Ohio Valley Conference championship game lingering around, the Tennessee Tech women certainly did their best to exorcise those demons on Thursday night. The Golden Eagles came out on a mission and put together a strong effort on both sides of the ball to claim a 73-62 victory over SMU in the opening round of the WNIT.
Tech (21-10) advances to the second round and will load up the bus and cruise up the Texas highways to Houston on Sunday with the game slated for a 2 p.m. start.
Anna Jones led the way with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while also pulling down seven boards. Mackenzie Coleman picked up her 12th career double-double, scoring 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting and 2-for-2 from 3-point range and collecting 11 rebounds. Anna Walker also had 13 points and eight rebounds.
Savannah Wilkinson led SMU (14-15) with 20 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 8-for-20 from the field. Kayla White scored 16 and Sydne Wiggins added 10.
The 73 points scored by the Golden Eagles were the most allowed by SMU since the start of the new year and eclipsed only by Oklahoma, North Texas and Arkansas-Pine Bluff over the complete course of the season.
The distance was built mostly in the second quarter. After Tech ended the opening period up 18-15, the Golden Eagles caught fire in the second, hitting seven of their 14 tries, while the Mustangs were held to 3-of-11 shooting. Tech extended its lead to seven points on a Coleman 3-pointer, but SMU cut the deficit back down to three twice, but the Golden Eagles scored five unanswered points to close out the half with an eight-point, 34-26 lead.
SMU had the Golden Eagles back within four twice in the third, but Tech surged once more in the period, going on a 7-0 run on a Jones driving layup, a Walker 3-pointer on a second-chance shot and a layup from Maaliya Owens to go up 11 before the period closed.
Tech led by as many as 16 points with 4:40 remaining in the contest and SMU briefly returned the game back to single digits but the Golden Eagles were able to lead by as many as 13 again before the final buzzer sounded.
Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information