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Golden Eagles outlast Lee in exhibition game to tip off season


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Jim Davis had certainly been there before, but never in Eblen Center.

Kellie Cook, on the other hand….well, she’s been there plenty on her familiar home court.

And so it was that Cook, a senior, made a couple of the biggest shots of the night to lift the Tennessee Tech women’s basketball team to a very hard-earned 71-66 victory Monday night over stubborn and feisty Lee University in an exhibition game.

Cook popped a crucial 3-pointer with 4:38 remaining that gave Tech a 62-60 lead after the Flames had forged ahead by four. When that slim lead didn’t hold up, Cook drained another bomb, this time from the left corner with just 39 seconds to play, to push the Golden Eagles on top, 68-64.

After Lee cut it to 68-66 with 25 seconds left on a pair of Hollie German free throws, Jala Harris made one at the other end to make it a three-point difference with 24 seconds left.

Lee had one final chance but a 3-pointer with six seconds to go was off the mark, Harris snared the rebound and added two free throws for the final five-point margin.

Lee, whose nickname is the Flames, burned the nets for much of the evening, The visitors shot 66.7 percent in the first half (13-for-21) and were still connecting at better than 60 percent until the final minutes. Lee finished the game hitting 58.5 percent (24-for-41).

Sophomore T’Keyah Williams recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles. She also had two assists and three of Tech’s 12 steals.

She was one of four Tech players to score in double digits. Diamond Henderson (photo at top) was the team’s top point-getter with 13 while Harris netted 12 and Cook finished with 10. Lashay Davis (photo at left), playing her first game at Tech, finished with seven points and a team-high three assists along with three steals.

German was the game’s top scorer with 18 points for Lee while Karley Miller added 12. Jenna Adams added eight points and topped all rebounders with 13.

 

The game was tied nine times and the lead changed hands seven times.

Lee found the range early, hitting five of its first six shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, to build a 12-6 lead.

The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, shuffled through numerous lineup changes in the first seven minutes as Davis and his staff looked for a combination that could produce at both ends of the floor. Tech had nine turnovers in the first seven minutes.

Williams went high to grab an offensive rebound and her put-back tied the score at 16-16 with 11 minutes to play in the half, completing Tech’s comeback and re-setting the game.

Tech settled down over the next 12 minutes, with just one more turnover before halftime. That improved ball-handling led to a 39-32 lead for the Golden Eagles at the break.

Lee opened the second half with a 10-0 run including seven points by Miller, erasing Tech’s lead and giving the Flames a 42-39 advantage. From that point, the score was knotted five more times and the largest difference was Lee’s 59-55 margin on a 3-pointer by German with 7:24 to go.

That is, until Cook’s clutch shot made it a four-point Tech lead in the final minute.

The Golden Eagles open the regular season Saturday night at 6 p.m. when they host Tennessee Wesleyan in the first game of a doubleheader.  

Tickets to the game, as well as season tickets for the Golden Eagles’ 2012-13 home schedule, are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling 931-372-3940.