November 18, 2009

Tech falls on the road against No. 4/8 Baylor

WACO, Texas - Tennessee Tech held an early lead in the opening moments of the game on Tuesday evening against the No. 4/8 Baylor Lady Bears, but that would turn out to be the final lead of the night for the Golden Eagles as they fell, 100-55, at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

The Lady Bears took advantage of their considerable height advantage to finish with 66 points in the paint compared to just 14 points in the paint for the Golden Eagles. Baylor also was able to score 27 points off 24 Tech turnovers. Despite allowing 100 points on the night, TTU played solid defense in the half court, forcing 23 Baylor turnovers.

"I was proud of our kids in terms of their effort," said Sytia Messer, Golden Eagle head coach. "Baylor, to me, is one of the best teams in the country and has one of the best coaching staffs in the country."

Messer also acknowledged that the trip to Baylor is something that her young team can build upon for the remainder of the season.

"Being here was great for our kids and our team," Messer said. "Right now, we are one of the youngest teams in the nation. Our oldest player is 19 years old. This was a great teaching experience for this team."

Leading the way in the scoring column for the Golden Eagles was sophomore Krystal Stirrup who finished with 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting and 2-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc. She was also 5-for-5 from the free throw line and tallied a team-high six rebounds.

Tech's leading scorer entering the game, sophomore Tacarra Hayes, was held scoreless in the first half but came on strong in the second to finish with 13 points. She also added four assists and four rebounds for the Golden Eagles.

Freshman Kylie Cook was 4-of-9 from 3-point range and finished with 12 points and four rebounds for the Golden Eagles, while her sister, Kellie Cook, notched nine points and four boards.

Five Lady Bears finished in double figures, led by Jordan Madden who came off the Baylor bench and had a game-high 21 points. Freshman 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner, the consensus No. 1 recruit in this year's class, finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

After falling behind 17-7 with 11:46 remaining in the first half, Stirrup hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to seven. The Golden Eagles kept it close at 24-15 on Simone Rutledge's layup with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, but Baylor went on a 19-9 run to close out the half and take a 43-24 lead.

Tech came within 18 (47-29) in the second half on a 3-pointer by Stirrup with 17:28 remaining, but Baylor scored the next 13 points and never looked back from there.

The Golden Eagles will continue their challenging pre-conference schedule this Sunday (Nov. 22) when they travel to take on No. 23 Louisville.