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November 5, 2013

Let's get it started: Golden Eagles run past Truett-McConnell in exhibition action


Box score (PDF)

By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It took the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team about 10 minutes to find the range Tuesday night. While the Golden Eagle shooting was a little off the mark early, the Tech defense was spot-on.

Tech held visiting Truett-McConnell without a field goal for nearly 15 minutes of the first half, and when the Golden Eagle offense began to click, it eventually led to a 93-54 victory over the Bears in an exhibition game in Eblen Center.

All-OVC guard Diamond Henderson led Tech in the first half with 11 points, and finished the game with 13 on 5-for-8 shooting. Mariah Dean was Tech's top scorer with 14 points while freshman Cat Taylor added 12 and four assists. Tia Nicholson and Kayla Brewer had matching numbers, each posting seven points and eight rebounds. Freshman point guard Shunice Herron had five points and a game-high seven assists.

Rhande Haskett was the top scorer in the game, leading the Bears with 20 points while going 12-for-14 at the free throw line. She also topped Truett-McConnell on the boards with five. Krista Dixon and Briana Jones added 10 points each.

All 12 Golden Eagles got into the action, and every Tech player saw at least 13 minutes on the floor. Everybody scored, 10 players had rebounds and eight different Golden Eagles had assists in the contest.

"That's going to be an earmark of this basketball team," said second-year coach Jim Davis. "We're going to be able to play a lot of people. We need to extend the game five or 10 minutes so we can get more playing time for some of these kids.

"It's a good problem to have," he added. "Everybody works hard in practice and everybody deserves a chance."

After shooting 29 percent for the first nine minutes, the Golden Eagles hit 50 percent over the next 11 minutes to forge a 40-26 halftime lead.

Briana Jones hit a layup in the first minute of play to get the scoring started for Truett-McConnell, but the Golden Eagle defense slammed the door, locked it and threw away the key for the next 14:53. After Jones' basket at the 19:12 mark, the Bears' only scoring came at the free throw line.

With 4:19 to play, Jones dribbled to her left and popped in a 15-foot jumper for her team's second basket.

But, even with that tremendous defensive effort, the Golden Eagles couldn't seem to shake loose from the NAIA school out of Cleveland, Ga. The Bears went 16-for-17 at the free throw line in the first half to stay within striking distance. With four minutes left, Tech was on top by just nine, 26-17.  

Tech shot 48.7 percent in the second half and continued to limit Truett-McConnell's chances, holding the visitors to 25 percent after halftime and 27 percent fro the game. The Bears were 33-for-37 at the free throw line, and had 28 turnovers.

Tech was 19-for-28 at the free throw line for 68 percent, and went 34-for-76 from the field for 44.7 percent. Tech held a 48-29 advantage in rebounds. The Golden Eagles had only nine turnovers.

Tech's largest lead of the night was 40 points, coming with 3:50 remaining in the contest.

With the preseason action behind them, the Golden Eagles turn their attention to opening the regular season. Tech opens the slate by hosting Tennessee Wesleyan Saturday at 7 p.m. in Eblen Center.

The event is Women's Basketball Legends Weekend. Several former players will return to play an exhibition game Saturday afternoon, with the season opener in prime time.

For tickets to the game, or for season tickets, contact the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or call (931) 372-3940.