COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The target on the Golden Eagles backs is bigger and brighter than ever. Tech, the only unbeaten team in the Ohio Valley Conference, hits the road for a two-game stretch playing Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Saturday and Eastern Illinois Monday night. A road win is one of the toughest things to come by in basketball, especially when you're going up against two of the biggest threats in the conference.
The first leg of the Golden Eagle's trip will be in Edwardsville, Illinois. The Purple and Gold will face the Cougars (7-8, 1-2 OVC) Saturday at 4 p.m. CT
Tennessee Tech (9-7, 3-0 OVC) vs. SIU Edwardsville (7-8, 1-2 OVC)
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013
4:00 p.m. CT
Vadalabene Center - Edwardsville, Ill.
Setting the Stage After playing two straight home contests, the undefeated in conference action Tech women's basketball team (9-7, 3-0 OVC), will travel to Edwardsville Illinois on Saturday, Jan. 12 as the Golden Eagles take on host SIU Edwardsville (7-8, 1-2) at 4:00 p.m.
The contest will be webcast live on the OVC Digital Network. The game can also be heard on the Golden Eagle Sports Network , 106.1 Fox Sports.
Last season, the Golden Eagles went 0-2 against the Cougars, one of only two teams that the Golden Eagles didn't pick up a win against in the OVC. The Golden Eagles have revenge in mind as the Cougars pulled off a 64-62 upset at the Eblen Center last season in overtime. Earlier in the season, Tech made the same trip to Edwardsville and fell to the Cougars 62-54.
This season the Golden Eagles have only one chance to defeat the Cougars, but one chance is all they need. Saturday's game will be only the second conference road game for Tech and the Purple and Gold are looking to string together three consecutive wins for the first time in the 2012-13 season.
Following the game on Saturday, Tech will travel to Charleston, Illinois to take on the Panthers of Eastern Illinois University for a 7 p.m. contest Monday, Jan. 14.
A Glance at the 2012-13 Golden Eagles Consistency: the one thing that has eluded the Golden Eagles so far this season. For example, the Golden Eagles have two good wins over Belmont and Tennessee State under their belt, but statistically, the women's basketball team played both teams poorer then a fan might have thought.
Against the Bruins, Tech only allowed two offensive rebounds, but gave up 20 against the Tigers. Tennessee State had 72 shot attempts, while Belmont was held to just over 50. The Golden Eagles shot 37 percent against Belmont but had a 50 percent field goal percentage against Tennessee State. While there are glimpses of greatness on the court, the key to winning the Ohio Valley Conference is a consistent balanced game, something Coach Jim Davis preaches regularly to his team.
While the Golden Eagles are searching for consistency, Tech's leaders have hit the ground running in conference action. The team's top scorer, Diamond Henderson is averaging 17.3 points per game against OVC teams. Jala Harris, the team's floor general is averaging 12.3 points per game this season, but against conference opponents has been scoring 16.0 points per game. Harris leads the team with 3.6 assists per game. Joining the dynamic duo is Molly Heady, who is averaging 10 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Tech's perimeter play is one of the best in the conference .The Golden Eagles are currently ranked first in the OVC with a .488 three-point field goal percentage. Tech looks to Henderson, Harris and Heady for three points here and there, and Henderson's 5-6 shooting performance from behind the arc gave Tech a final minute victory over Tennessee State. The Golden Eagles heavily rely on senior Lashay Davis for her accurate and quick shot from three-point land. Davis has drained a team high 28 threes this season, and has a shooting percentage of .368 from behind the arc. Davis also adds 1.56 assists and 1.93 steals per game.
T'Keyah Williams has lead the Golden Eagles in rebounds in all but five games and averages 5.8 rebounds per game, while adding 6.4 points per game. Joining her in the paint is senior Kylie Cook. Cook adds 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 points per game while freshman Mariah Dean has seen increased time chipping in 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 points per game. Recently, the Golden Eagles have seen a spark from sophomore center Candace Parson. Parson has had great practices recently according to the coaches and her defensive performance against TSU played a large part in the team's victory.
As a team, the Golden Eagles average 64.6 points, 35.7 rebounds, 11.8 assists, 8.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per game.
A Look at the Cougars The Cougars are 1-2 in the OVC, but could easily be 2-1 as their last loss was at Morehead State, and they lost by three in the final seconds of the game. SIUE is led by R. Berry and T Austin. Berry is averaging 12.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while Austin adds 11.3 rebounds per game.
SIUE was picked to finish third in the West Division in Preseason Polls, behind defending champion UT Martin and Eastern Illinois.
The Cougars have played some formidable opponents this season including Purdue and Indiana and have come away with a big 49-43 win over Clemson. In OVC action, SIUE lost at Belmont 66-52 but won on the road at Eastern Kentucky 73-69.
Series History Though the series may be brief, it is tied 2-2. The Golden Eagles played home and away last season, but only faced the Cougars once in each of the previous two seasons. The Golden Eagles are 1-1 on the road, winning in Edwardsville in 2010.