MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team fell behind early and could not recover as the Golden Eagles finished their five-game road trip to begin the 2009-10 season with a 76-39 loss to Middle Tennessee State on Saturday evening at the Murphy Center.
The Golden Eagles ended up 1-4 on their road trip to begin the season, which saw them play two teams ranked in the top-25 along with MTSU who is receiving votes in the national polls.
"It's been tough, but nothing in life is given," said Sytia Messer, Golden Eagle head coach. "I think that our players and our coaching staff will both learn from this. It would have been tough on a veteran team, but it's especially difficult on a young team to be thrown in the fire like this. It's not easy, but I think it's really going to pay off down the road."
Tech was limited to just 11 field goals on the night and did not score its first bucket from the field until the 8:56 mark when freshman Kellie Cook put in a 3-pointer to make the score 16-7 in favor of Middle Tennessee.
The Blue Raiders extended their lead to 19 points, 28-9, but Tech cut it to 28-13 on a pair of free throws by freshman Tiara Hopper.
Tech trailed 32-16 at halftime, and Middle Tennessee quickly extended its lead in the second half, going on a 26-6 run to balloon its lead to 58-22 before coasting to a 37-point victory.
Throughout the entire game, the Blue Raiders pressed the inexperienced Golden Eagles full court and forced 32 Tech turnovers.
"I wasn't surprised at all about their full court press," Messer said. "They go for the kill, and we knew they would press for 40 minutes. It's not a good feeling to lose, but hopefully our kids can learn from this and return the favor next year."
Leading the way for the Golden Eagles was Kellie Cook who scored a team-high 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting with five rebounds. Tech's leading scorer, Tacarra Hayes, was limited to 10 points in the contest.
After shooting just 15.0 percent (3-of-20) in the first half, Tech improved to 40 percent (8-of-20) in the second period.
The Golden Eagles now set their sights on Monday night when they open up their home schedule against Lipscomb.
"I'm so excited to go home and play in front of our great fans," Messer said. "Sometimes your fans can be your sixth man, and we're hoping for that on Monday."
Tip-off for Monday's game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Single game and season tickets are available through the Golden Eagle ticket office by calling 372-3940 or visiting TTUsports.com.