Golden Eagles have won six of last seven games;
Visits TSU Saturday then back home Monday night
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Rachel Glidden is happy to back in action after missing most of the first two months of the basketball season with a foot injury.
Her Tennessee Tech teammates are happy that their senior guard is back in action, too.
On Monday night, Glidden provided the offensive spark with three 3-pointers down the stretch and then partially blocked the potential tying shot in the waning seconds to preserve a 68-65 Ohio Valley Conference victory that allowed the Golden Eagles to climb into a tie for third place in the league standings.
Tech (12-14 overall) improved to 8-4 within the league with their fourth conference road win. Tech is tied with SIU Edwardsville which dropped a three-point game Monday night at home against Morehead State.
Austin Peay (5-20 overall) saw its OVC mark fall to 2-10. It was the only regular season meeting this year between the two rivals, and gave Tech a 71-17 lead in the all-time series.
Glidden went 4-for-7 from long range, making her one of three Golden Eagles to notch double figures in scoring with 12 points. Senior Tacarra Hayes topped Tech with 18 points on sizzling 8-for-11 shooting, and also dished out seven assists and grabbed four rebounds. Junior Jala Harris added 14 points, three assists and three steals.
It was a game that featured outstanding shooting by both teams. Tech connected on 52.8 percent (28-for-53) for the game, including a gaudy 64.6 percent (14-for-22) in the second half.
Austin Peay shot 53.5 percent (23-for-43) for the game, including 59 percent in the first half. The Govs also owned a large advantage at the free throw line, going 15-for-19 while Tech was 5-for-7.
Whitley Hanley led APSU with 16 points and eight rebounds, hitting 6-for-9 from the field. Meghan Bussabarger was 5-for-6 and added 12 points, while Kaitlyn Hill scored 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting. Leslie Martinez added nine points and eight assists, but had her 3-point try with eight seconds remaining tipped by Glidden, ending Austin Peay's final hope to avoid its eighth consecutive loss.
The Govs hit 59 percent from the field in the first half and 10-for-11 at the free throw line, taking a six-point lead into halftime, 38-32. The Govs climbed on top by seven, 21-14, midway in the half and carried a similar lead the rest of the way. The largest APSU lead of the half was eight points.
Early in the second half, Tech erased a five-point deficit to tie the game, 42-42, on a Glidden 3-pointer with 15 minutes to play. A Martinez 3-pointer put APSU back up three and the Lady Govs expanded that to six points, 55-49, as Hanley made a trey with 11:08 to go.
Glidden drained two 3-pointers in a two-minute span, the second knotting things at 57-57 with about seven minutes left. Tech took a couple of two-point leads on baskets by Hayes and Darling, and Glidden's fourth trey of the game with 5:43 left pushed the Golden Eagle lead to 64-59.
A 6-0 APSU run gave the lead back to the home team, 65-64, with 4:04 remaining.
Junior Kellie Cook's jumper with 2:07 was the eventual game-winner, making it 66-65. Harris and Molly Heady each hauled down key defensive rebounds after the Tech defense forced missed shots in the next couple minutes, and Harris hit a jumper with 22 seconds left for a three-point lead.
APSU had the last possession and set up a 3-point try by Martinez but Glidden stepped out and blocked the shot. The rebound went to APSU, but the Govs never were able to get off another try.
Tech has now won six of its last seven games, the only hitch being an overtime loss to SIUE in Eblen Center. The Golden Eagles play their final road game of the regular season Saturday at Tennessee State with a 5 p.m. tipoff.
After that, the Golden Eagles wrap up the season with three consecutive home games starting with a visit from league-leading Eastern Illinois on Monday (Feb. 13).