Tennessee State comes to Cookeville for an I-40 battle
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Five teams are currently tied for fifth place in the Ohio Valley Conference, and two of them will be facing off on Saturday evening when the Lady Tigers of Tennessee State come to the Eblen Center to take on the Golden Eagles.
The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team is coming off of a 77-56 victory over rival Austin Peay on Thursday, which brought the Golden Eagles' record to 8-10 overall and 3-5 in conference play. The Lady Tigers, on the other hand, were handed their fifth OVC loss of the season last Tuesday when they lost to Jacksonville State in overtime, 82-75, to fall to 6-11 overall and 3-5 in the OVC.
Saturday marks the 53rd TTU/TSU match-up, an all-time series that has been dominated by the Golden Eagles. Tech won the first game between the two teams 40 years ago in 1970 and went on to take the next 19 contests before the Lady Tigers stopped Tech's 20-game winning streak during the 1993-94 season. The Golden Eagles hold an all-time record of 43-9 against TSU.
However, Tennessee State has had the Golden Eagles' number of late, winning four of the last six contests. The Lady Tigers swept the season series with the Golden Eagles a year ago, marking the first time that has ever happened.
The Golden Eagles have to be confident that will not be repeated this season following their 21-point win over Austin Peay. Sophomores Tacarra Hayes and Krystal Stirrup did most of the heavy lifting on the scoreboard as the duo combined for 60 of the 77 Tech points on the night. Hayes poured in a career-high 39, the most ever by a Tennessee Tech guard, and added nine rebounds as she narrowly missed her second double-double of the season. Stirrup scored 21 in just 24 minutes of action as she missed just two shots all night, going 6-for-8 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
Hayes' monster game vaulted her scoring average to 17.9 points per game during OVC play, tops in the conference. She also ranks in the top-10 in the OVC in steals (third, 2.3 spg), assists (fourth, 4.9 apg), defensive rebounds (fifth, 5.6 rpg), and field goal percentage (sixth, 50.0 percent).
Also in Tech's favor on Saturday will be the supportive hometown fans that have helped TTU to a 6-1 mark at home this season. The Golden Eagles are out-scoring their opponents by an average of 12.4 points and out-rebounding them by 9.8 boards per game at the Eblen Center.
Tennessee State is still in search of its first road win of the season, as the team enters Saturday's contest 0-7 away from Nashville.
Tip-off for Saturday's game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and can by purchased by visiting or calling the Tennessee Tech Ticket Office at 372-3940.
The game will be broadcast live on WCTE locally in Cookeville, and fans can hear all the action for free on Teamline either online or on the phone. The broadcast can be accessed through Tennessee Tech's athletic Web site, TTUsports.com, or fans can call 1-800-846-4700 and enter the team code 0654 to catch all the action. TTUsports.com will also have live stats for the game, while Web streaming can be accessed through ovcsports.tv.