By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
NEW ORLEANS – It could be a milestone day for Tennessee Tech women's basketball at the Tulane Holiday Tournament on Tuesday as the Golden Eagles will play for its 1,000th victory in the program's history.
The tournament starts for Tech with a 2:30 contest against VCU at Tulane's Devlin Fieldhouse.
Dylan Vazzano will have the call on 106.1 The Eagle.
A thousand wins is a tremendous milestone that only 20 Division I teams have reached before and the list is a who's-who of teams with exceptional tradition – Tennessee, UConn, Stanford, James Madison, Louisiana Tech, Texas, Stephen F. Austin, Old Dominion, Maryland, South Dakota State, Green Bay, Baylor, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Western Kentucky, Georgia, Belmont, North Carolina, N.C. State and Kansas. In addition to Tech, Rutgers, LSU, Montana, Penn State, Long Beach State and Middle Tennessee could conceivably surpass the millennium mark this season.
Head coach Kim Rosamond – the third-winningest coach in program history behind Marynell Meadors and Bill Worrell – can reach a personal milestone during this tournament as well as two more victories will give her the 100th victory in her head coaching career.
Still, there's work to do to get beyond those mileposts.
VCU comes into Tuesday's contest with a 3-8 record. Its three wins come against some recognizable names with a 65-42 season-opening win over Lafayette, then a 62-61 thriller over Seton Hall and a 75-67 decision over Wisconsin.
However, the Rams have since lost four straight games – two of those by five or fewer points. VCU fell 62-60 against James Madison before a pair of road losses at East Carolina (69-51) and at Old Dominion (61-44), then came back home to fall 61-56 to Gardner-Webb.
VCU's offense runs through Sarah Te-Biasu, who has led the Rams in scoring in seven of their 11 games thus far. She is the Rams' only double-digit scorer on the season, averaging 14.5 points per contest. Mary-Anna Asare (8.3 ppg) and Chloe Bloom (8.3 ppg) are the next closest, with Janika Griffith-Wallace (6.4 ppg) rounding out the team leaders. Te-Biasu is the only starter to open every lineup, while Asare and Griffith-Wallace have both started seven games and Elze Motekaityte has started six.
Bloom leads the Rams in rebounding with a 5.8-carom average and Te-Biasu leads the team in assists with 28.
VCU is averaging 56.8 points per game, while allowing 61.4. From the floor, the Rams are shooting .386, including .245 from long-range as they average 3.6 3-pointers a night. They are also shooting .747 from the line, averaging 11.5 made free-throws.
The Rams are also averaging 34.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 7.8 steals and 1.6 blocks, but they are also averaging 18.2 turnovers. They are able to counteract that, though, by forcing an average of 15.9 turnovers a game.
For Tech (6-3), the squad reclaimed the scoring advantage on the season following Saturday's win over ULM, averaging 68.1 points scored versus 65.6 points allowed. The Golden Eagles are shooting .420 from the floor, including .337 from long range – averaging 6.8 3-pointers made per outing. Tech is also shooting .744 from the free-throw line, knocking through an average of 12.9 per game.
The Golden Eagles are also averaging 34.8 rebounds, 16.1 assists, 7.0 steals and 3.3 blocks per game. During Tech's current three-game winning streak, it is averaging 39.3 rebounds, 21.3 assists, 10.0 steals and 2.7 blocks, while scoring 82.0 points and allowing 59.7.
After losing on the road at Northern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, Tech bounced back to score big home wins over Alabama A&M and Tennessee Wesleyan, then picked up its first road win of the season on Saturday with an 83-59 victory at ULM.
In this current three-game streak, the Golden Eagles have four players averaging double-digit scoring with Maaliya Owens hitting at a 15.0-point clip, Reagan Hurst and Jada Guinn both at 11.0 and Peyton Carter at 10.3. Anna Walker (9.7) and Jordan Brock (9.0) are also close to the double-digit mark.
For the season at a whole, Owens leads the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game, while Walker (9.9) and Hurst (9.1) are near the double-digit mark. True freshman Reghan Grimes leads the team in rebounding with 5.8 boards a game, while Guinn is averaging 3.8 assists with Owens close at 3.4.
The Golden Eagles will play either Saint Francis (0-10) or Tulane (7-3) on Wednesday. The losers of Tuesday's games will play at 11 a.m., while the winners will play at 1:30 p.m.
This tournament will close out Tech's non-conference slate as the Golden Eagles will open Ohio Valley Conference play on Dec. 29 with a trip to SIUE and a New Year's Eve matinee at Lindenwood, before returning to the Eblen Center on Jan. 5.
Tickets for Tennessee Tech basketball are on sale now. Call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office or visit TTUsports.com to order.
Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information, file