Tennessee Tech outlasts Tennessee State in OVC overtime road win

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In an overtime nail-biter, Kellie Cook made her only shot of the game, a long-three pointer from the corner that sealed a 71-68 victory over the Tigers of Tennessee State Monday in Gentry Arena. 

The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team scored 13 points in overtime, the first eight coming from senior Lashay Davis, to down the Tigers for the Golden Eagles' first overtime victory of the season. The game was a classic thriller, leads exchanging, bodies falling to the ground in a hard-fought battle. 

Senior point guard Jala Harris led three Golden Eagles in double-figures with 19 points and Diamond Henderson contributed 17 as Tech won its second game in a row, it's fourth win in the past five contests. The win moves the Golden Eagles to 13-10 overall and 7-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference. 

The Golden Eagles shot just 29 percent in the first half, but when it counted, went 5-for-5 from the floor in overtime. The Purple and Gold held a 29-14 edge at the half, and pulled away midway through the second half with the help of Tennessee State turnovers.

But Tennessee State didn't go away as the Tigers eventually took the lead after implementing a press that the Golden Eagles just couldn't shake. The press sparked a 12-2 run by Tennessee State, but the Tigers never led by more than one point.

As the clock counted down, the game got more physical, and both teams found themselves in foul trouble. With 3:05 remaining, TSU went to the line thanks to the double-bonus, but could only convert one of the free shots. Henderson slipped through the press with ease to sink a jumper giving Tech a one point lead with just three minutes to play. Both teams went scoreless until Henderson picked up her fifth foul and sent TSU to the line. 

With Henderson out of the game, in came Kellie Cook. Up until that point, Cook had not taken a shot. Her sister, Kylie Cook had drained two easy three's in the second half, but Kellie had not even had a look at the basket. 

The clock continued to tick, and as time ran down to the wire, TSU led 58-56. Harris seized the moment and made a 16-foot jump-shot to tie the game. The Golden Eagles then made a strong defensive stand to send the contest into overtime.  

In the extra minutes, the Tigers scored first, but Davis drove to the basket to tie the game at 60. TSU scored again and forced a Tech turnover to give the Tigers a 64-60 advantage. Davis again led her troops into the heat of battle, draining a three with 2:24 remaining. TSU scored again, but Harris found Davis in the exact same spot, to tie the game 66-66. With 1:25 remaining, an issue with the shot clock arose to halt play. 

Tennessee State had the ball and Tech was forced to play defense as 45 seconds ticked off the clock. Davis and Harris combined for several tips of the ball, and eventually forced a TSU turnover. Harris converted and gave Tech a 68-66 lead with 30 seconds remaining. Simone Hopes tossed up a shot and missed but got her own rebound and put-back, again tying the game at 68.

With four seconds, Harris found Kellie Cook in the corner for a wide-open three and Cook nailed her only attempt for the game-winner.

Tech will return to action Saturday as the Golden Eagles host Jacksonville State. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. to open the evening's doubleheader with the Gamecocks. In a special event, all fans wearing pink will only have to pay $1 for their ticket in honor of the Women's Basketball Play 4 Kay event. Visit or call the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940) for tickets or information.