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Hayes reaches 1,000, leads Tech over Lady Colonels with big night

To view Tacarra Hayes' postgame comments click here

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Junior Tacarra Hayes poured in 29 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds to carry the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team to a hard-fought, 56-49 victory over Eastern Kentucky Thursday night in Eblen Center.

In addition to her seventh career double-double, the all-OVC junior also had three assists and four steals to lead the way.

Oh, and one more thing…she climbed past 1,000 career points, finishing her uprising with 1,007 points.

Hayes' explosive performance allowed Tech  (17-4/11-1 OVC) to hold onto its one-game lead in the Ohio Valley Conference with a showdown looming Saturday against second-place Morehead State. Next week, the Golden Eagles visit third-place UT Martin.

Eastern Kentucky, which kept it close, fell to 6-15 overall and 3-8 in the league.

Hayes was the only player to score in double figures for the Golden Eagles, but Brittany Darling added seven points and six rebounds and Briana Jordan also netted seven points. Freshman Molly Heady nabbed 11 rebounds as Tech owned a 52-36 advantage on the glass.

Shakeyia Colyer and Brittany Coles led EKU with 12 points each, while Alex Jones added 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Marie Carpenter contributed eight points and six rebounds.

Tech trailed just once in the contest as EKU scored the first basket of the night. Tech tied it and took a lead on layups by Rachel Glidden and Hayes, and never gave up the edge. Tech was pressed late in the first half as EKU pulled to within three points, 25-22, on a Colyer jumper before the Golden Eagles took a seven-point lead to the break.

Twice in the second half the Lady Colonels got the difference down to two points, the last time at 43-41 wit 9:03 remaining on a pair of free throws by Jasmine Stovall.

Heady, Glidden and Hayes all hit baskets to give Tech a 49-41 lead and the home team was able to hang on.

Tech shot 31.7 percent from the field (20-for-63) and went without a 3-pointer (0-for-10) for the first time this season. EKU hit 30.8 percent (16-for-52) and was 7-for-17 from long range.

Next on the agenda for the Golden Eagles is a showdown with Morehead State, the only team to defeat Tech this season in conference play. The MSU Eagles will invade Eblen Center Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. contest.

Morehead State is in second place in the OVC standings, one game behind the Golden Eagles with a 10-2 conference record following a 65-64, last-second road win at Jacksonville State Thursday night.

Saturday's games are Overton County Night, as well as Scout Night. Residents of neighboring Overton County can purchase tickets for one dollar each. Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts will be admitted free when wearing their uniform.

To order tickets, or for ticket information, call the Athletics Ticket office in Eblen Center at (931) 372-3940.