By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After building a double-digit first half lead, Tennessee Tech survived a roller coaster ride in the second half to claim a 64-54 victory over Eastern Illinois Monday night in Ohio Valley Conference women's basketball action in Eblen Center.
Tech (6-11/3-1 OVC) got double-figure scoring from two juniors and a freshman in posting its second consecutive victory, watching the lead waver up and down throughout the second half.
Eastern Illinois (7-9/2-3 OVC) got to within two in the second period, fell behind by 11, and climbed back to within five before dropping their second straight.
Candace Parson notched her second consecutive double-double for the Golden Eagles with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while adding two blocked shots. Diamond Henderson led all scorers with 22 points and topped Tech with three assists. Rookie Hannah Goolsby added 18 points, hitting 4-for-4 from long distance and 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
Tech also got a career-high 11 rebounds from Kayla Brewer in winning the battle of the boards, 39-27. Tech's total included 18 offensive rebounds.
Sabina Oroszova, who ranks among OVC leaders in scoring and rebounds, recorded her 11th double-double of the season and seventh in a row with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Jordyne Crunk also scored 17 for the Panthers and dished out five assists.
A 10-0 Golden Eagle run midway in the first half broke an 18-18 tie and pushed Tech to a double-digit lead with 5:36 to play in the half. Goolsby knocked down a 3-0 pointer in the run, and Henderson contributed the other seven points.
EIU got back within seven on a 3-pointer by Kaitlyn Payne, but Tech scored its next six points in the paint and was able to hold an 11-point lead at halftime, 36-25.
The largest lead of the night was 13 points on a Parson layup to open the second half, but EIU responded with a 13-2 run to cut the margin to 40-38 following two free throws by Oroszova with 12:37 remaining. Arnisha Thomas scored five of her seven points in the run.
Tech was able to used back-to-back 3-pointers from Goolsby and Molly Heady to return to an eight-point lead, then maintained a margin around that mark over the next seven minutes. Eventually, Tech climbed back on top by double figures, a jumper by Brewer and a layup from Henderson to make it 58-47 with 5:54 to play.
Oroszova hit a 3-pointer and layup, and two minutes later Crunk made two free throws, and the TTU lead was whittled down to five, 59-54, with 3:09 to go.
Tech made its next five free throws over a three-minute span while EIU four shots during that span as the margin bounced back to double figures and the final score.
The Golden Eagles hit the road for the next four games, beginning Thursday night at Tennessee State with a 7 p.m. game that was rescheduled from earlier in the year due to weather conditions. After that, coach Jim Davis takes his squad to UT Martin (Jan. 20), Austin Peay (Jan. 25) and Murray State (Jan. 27) before returning to Eblen Center on Saturday, Feb. 1, against Belmont.