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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Balanced scoring, strong rebounding and perfect free throw shooting allowed Tennessee Tech to take over sole possession of first place in the tight Ohio Valley Conference women’s basketball race following a convincing 77-61 victory Saturday night over Murray State in Eblen Center.
How tight is the race? Five of the 10 league teams are within
one game of the top.
Tech (12-4 overall) improved to 6-1 within the conference to grab a half-game lead over Morehead State (6-2) and a one-game edge on Eastern Illinois (5-2), UT Martin (5-2), and Austin Peay (5-2).
The Golden Eagles were 15-for-15 at the free throw line and held a 42-30 advantage on the glass to improve to 7-1 on their home floor this season. Tech also had nine steals and forced 20 MSU turnovers, and the Golden Eagles took advantage by scoring a 25-12 margin off turnovers.
Tacarra Hayes led the Golden Eagles with another strong all-around performance. She had 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals, while committing just two turnovers. Hayes was 9-for-9 at the line.
Freshman Molly Heady had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Kellie Cook scored 14. Three players had nine points each in the attack – Rachel Glidden, Keisha Moore and Briana Jordan, who also had four rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Mariah Robinson topped Murray State (5-12/1-6 OVC) with 19 points while Tessa Elkins added 13 points and four rebounds and Jessica Winfrey had 11points and eight rebounds.
Up by just four points, 20-16, with seven minutes to play in the first half, Tech used a 6-0 run to gain some cushion, and went to the break with a 10-point lead when Glidden drained a long 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
Glidden also got the second half started with a 3-pointer and
Tech went on a 15-3 run to get the period underway. That made it a
48-26 margin, and the difference remained near the 20-point mark
for most of the balance of the contest. The final 16-point margin
was as close as the Racers got after that.
The Golden Eagles will be road tested for the next two weeks, with stops at Austin Peay, Tennessee State, Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri. The road swing begins Thursday at Austin Peay, with an 8:15 p.m. tipoff for the second game of a doubleheader with the Govs.