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January 7, 2009

Eastern Kentucky posts 66-50 OVC win over Golden Eagles

RICHMOND, Ky. - The Eastern Kentucky Lady Colonel defense put the skids on Tennessee Tech's scoring for more than four minutes in the second half and the home squad claimed a 66-50 Ohio Valley Conference victory Saturday afternoon in McBrayer Arena.

Eastern Kentucky (6-8/3-3 OVC) trailed by one point, 39-38, after the Golden Eagles had fought their way back from a double-digit first half deficit.

Tennessee Tech (3-13/1-4 OVC) made its first five shots of the second half to move on top by one, but the Golden Eagles only scored one more basket in the next 12 minutes. The Lady Colonels pieced together an 18-6 run to nab control of the contest.

Freshman guard Kayla Drake led EKU with 22 points, going 8-for-19 from the field including 4-for-10 from long distance. She had 18 of her 22 in the first half, as Tech held her without a basket until a 3-pointer in the final minute. Drake also had six rebounds, four assists and five steals.

Cherie White had 14 points and six rebounds while Colette Cole also hit double digits for the Lady Colonels with 10 points. Point guard Sarah Fraser-Jones had nine assists and three steals.

Vivian Nwosu topped Tech on the scoreboard with 14 points, while Jasmine White added 11 points and eight rebounds. Blair Bowens scored eight points, all in the first half.

Each team had 19 turnovers in the contest, but EKU had a 39-24 edge in rebounds.

A 10-0 run by the Colonel women snapped an early 7-7 tie and carried EKU to a 17-7 lead at the 12:37 mark. A 3-pointer by Bowens stopped the run, but the Colonels followed with a seven-point string that made it 24-10.

EKU did it by taking advantage of cold shooting by Tech (4-for-15 to start the game), and eight Golden Eagle turnovers in the first 10 minutes. The Colonels were 9-for-18 to open the game.

Nwosu hit a 3-pointer with eight minutes left to make it 24-13. That basket by the Golden Eagle center sparked an 14-3 run and Tech fought back to within three points over the next four minutes, with a 3-pointer by Allison Price making it 27-24 with three minutes to play.

Bowens took a back-door pass from Lyons and scored a layup to make it 32-29 with seven seconds to play, before White tossed up a buzzer-beater from 28 feet that touched nothin' but net to make it 35-29 at the intermission.

The Golden Eagles worked their comeback by going the final eight minutes of the half without another turnover.

Tech took its first ? and only -- lead of the contest, 39-38, on a basket by White with 17:44 to play as the Golden Eagles hit their first five shots in the second period.

A third personal foul on Lyons put her on the bench, and Tech lost its momentum. The Lady Colonels used a 9-0 run to take the lead back, 47-39, as Tech went scoreless for just over four minutes.

The nearest Tech got after that was six points, when Nwosu made a layup to make it 47-41 with 13:24 to play.

The teams traded free throws over the next eight minutes, and Nwosu hit a jumper with 5:14 to play to make it a nine-point margin, 56-47. A 10-1 EKU run pushed the lead out to double figures and it grew to 18, the largest margin of the night, before White's basket with 10 seconds to play called up the final score.

The schedule brings the Golden Eagles back home this week for a pair of important Ohio Valley Conference contests in Eblen Center. On Thursday, Tech hosts UT Martin, and on Saturday the Golden Eagles entertain defending OVC champion Murray State in a game to be nationally televised by ESPNU. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. for both games.

Tickets are available for both games from the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center. It is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets may also be ordered on the telephone (931-372-3940) or on the Tech Athletics website at TTUsports.com.

Golden Nuggets: The EKU bench had a little TTU flavor to it Saturday. Lady Colonel head coach Chrissy Roberts served two seasons as an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech, and EKU athletic trainer David Green held the same position at Tech for 20 seasons....Fans 12 and younger were invited guests of EKU with free admission, and about 200 in the crowd of 415 were youngsters who took advantage of the offer.