Golden Eagle women host EKU in battle for position in OVC standings

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Things will be heating up early in Eblen Center Thursday night as the Eastern Kentucky Colonels come to town to face off against the Golden Eagle women, with the two teams currently separated by only one game in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.

The Colonels took advantage of a 22-point performance by freshman Kayla Drake in Kentucky on Jan. 10, and claimed a 66-50 victory over Tech in the teams’ first meeting of the season. However, EKU hasn’t won a game since then, dropping six straight, and is just 1-9 on the road this year, including an 0-5 mark in OVC play.

The Golden Eagles are coming out of a tough stretch, after playing five of the leagues top six teams in the last five games. Tech went 0-5 in that span, including back-to-back overtime losses at Austin Peay and Tennessee State.

Tech is led by senior Blair Bowens, who is eighth in the OVC in scoring with 14 points per game this season. Bowens is approaching her 1,000th career point. She has 985 career points, and needs just 15 more to join the elite 1,000-point club. A lethal shooter, Bowens has hit 35-of-81 (.432) 3-point attempts, and 15-of-16 (.938) free throws against conference opponents. But scoring isn’t the only thing Bowens brings to the table, averaging 3.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game per game.

Fellow senior Meagan Lyons recently eclipsed the 1,000-point mark, and is putting up 9.6 points per game this season. Lyons is also second on the team in rebounding, grabbing five boards per game. Allison Price is leading the Golden Eagles in assists with 3.4 per game in addition to 6.3 points from the point guard position.

The Golden Eagles got big-time production from the post position in their last game, with center Vivian Nwosu and forward Jasmine White each scoring in double-figures. Nwosu put up 14 and White added 10 in a tough loss at Southeast Missouri.

The Colonels are led by Drake, who is currently the OVC Freshman of the Week after averaging 21.5 points and five rebounds in two games last week. For the season, Drake is ranked fifth in the league in scoring, posting 15.7 points per game, the most by any freshman in the conference.

Colette Cole is scoring at an average of 9.9 points per game, and averaging 6.2 rebounds per game. Nadia Mossong is averaging 9.2 ppg and is third on the team in rebounds with 5.7 per game.

The Golden Eagles hold a 46-20 all-time advantage in the series against Eastern Kentucky, and have won four straight at home against the Colonels. The last time EKU beat Tech in Eblen Center was an 80-71 Tech loss during the 2002-03 season.

The Colonels held Tech to just 50 points in their win on Jan. 10, while Drake played all 40 minutes for EKU, and hit 4-of-10 from 3-point range, leading the Colonels to the16-point triumph. EKU was aided by a commanding 39-24 advantage on the boards, while Tech struggled from the free throw and 3-point lines, going just 6-of-12 in free throws, and 4-of-17 on its 3-pointers.

Nwosu hit 6-of-9 field goal attempts, and led the Golden Eagles with 14 points, while White scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. After trailing by double-digits in the first half, the Golden Eagles fought back and took a one-point lead in the second half. However, Tech made only one basket in the next 12 minutes, as EKU went on an 18-6 run to take a lead it would not give up.

EKU enters the game at 6-14 overall, and stands in seventh place at 3-8 in the OVC. Tech is just one game behind the Colonels at 2-9 in conference play and 4-18 overall.

After facing EKU Thursday, the Golden Eagles will play host to Morehead State Saturday night.