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Team effort pushes Golden Eagles past SIUE, 68-60

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Four Golden Eagles scored in double-figures as the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team defeated visiting SIU-Edwardsville, 68-60, in Eblen Center on Tuesday evening. Freshman Tiara Hopper led the way with a game-high 14 points and eight rebounds as TTU improved to 13-15 overall.

SIU-Edwardsville drops to 7-21 on the season - its second as a NCAA Division I program. The Cougars are in the process of reclassifying and will eventually become the 11th member of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Hopper played a career-high 38 minutes on Tuesday, finishing 6-of-11 from the field with 14 points. The Louisville, Ky., native also set a new career high with three blocks on the evening.

Joining Hopper in double-figures was Tacarra Hayes, Kylie Cook and Rachel Glidden, all of whom added 12 points. Hayes also finished with five assists and five rebounds, while Cook knocked down four 3-pointers and Glidden went 7-for-8 at the charity stripe.

As a team, the Golden Eagles shot 41.1 percent (23-of-56) from the field for the game thanks a 48.3 percent (14-of-29) showing in the second half.

Throughout the season, the Golden Eagles have been hurt by foul trouble, but that was not the case on Tuesday as TTU was whistled for just 12 personal fouls.

SIUE started the game on a roll as the Cougars used their height advantage to work the ball inside for easy buckets. A pair of free throws by Ashley Bey made the score 12-3 in favor of SIUE, but Tech would used the 3-point shot to get back in the game. Kellie Cook and Kylie Cook nailed back-to-back treys as part of a 12-2 run that put the Golden Eagles ahead 15-14.

The lead changed hands three times over the next seven minutes as neither team could get more than a five-point advantage.

With just two second remaining on the shot clock, Katy Cook nailed a 3-pointer out of the corner to put Tech ahead, 25-24, with less than three minutes remaining in the half. From that point, neither team could find the bottom of the net until Hayes created her own shot off the dribble and knocked down a 15-footer to give Tech a 27-24 lead at the break.

SIUE threatened throughout the second half, but Tech answered all of the Cougars' runs. With 13:29 remaining in the game, Bey hit a jumper to put SIUE ahead, 38-37, but Kellie Cook rebuttled with a trifecta the next time down the floor to give the Golden Eagles the lead for good.

After the Cougars tied the game at 50-50 with 6:44 remaining, TTU scored the next seven points on a layup by Hayes followed by a 3-pointer and pair of free throws by Glidden.

SIUE would not go away and cut the lead to one at two different points in the final two minutes, but Tech was too strong down the stretch, going 5-for-5 at the charity stripe in the final 30 seconds to secure the eight-point victory.

The Golden Eagles return to action in a must-win situation against Jacksonville State on Saturday evening in Eblen Center. The game is the final home contest of the season and is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. For ticket information, visit or call the Tennessee Tech Athletic Ticket Office located in Eblen Center at 372-3940.