By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team's (10-20, 7-9 OVC) season came to a close on Thursday evening when they fell to SIUE (14-16, 9-7 OVC) 77-69. This was the first meeting between the two teams in OVC Tournament history, and the win for the Cougars moved the overall series score to 4-6, in favor of SIUE. The win for the Cougars also extended their winning streak in the series to four games in-a-row.
It was a back and forth battle to open the first quarter, with the Cougars and Golden Eagles trading control of the game's momentum. A jumper from Treyvonna "Trey" Brooks gave Tech the slight 9-8 lead with 6:13 on the clock. SIUE went on to create a four-point lead at 13-9 with a three from Lauren White. However, senior Hannah Goolsby responded with her own bucket from downtown to cut the Cougar lead down to one at 13-12 with 4:38 remaining in the quarter. Then a bucket from beyond the arc by Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson gave the Golden Eagles the lead once again at 15-13 with 3:52 on the clock. Tech held tough for the latter part of the first quarter, shutting down SIUE from the field for the last five minutes of the quarter, while only allowing four points from the line to tie the contest up at 17 heading into the second quarter.
The Golden Eagles and Cougars continued to battle for control as second quarter play began. SIUE holding a slight 24-23 lead with one at the line from White at the 6:52 mark. The Cougars went on to take control of the second quarter, pulling ahead by six at 32-26 with two at the charity stripe from Amri Wilder. A Goolsby three-pointer brought the Golden Eagles back within one of the Cougars at 36-35 with 1:04 remaining in the quarter. However, SIUE went on to secure a 38-36 lead heading into the half.
At the break, the Golden Eagles were shooting 50 percent from the field, 55.6 percent from the three-point range, and 50 percent from the free throw line while the Cougars were shooting 47.6 percent from the floor, 66.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 73.7 percent from the charity stripe. Tech outrebounded SIUE by a 15-13 margin, however, the Cougars forced nine Golden Eagle turnovers while allowing just eight.
As second half play resumed, Tech and SIUE continued to battle back and forth. A Hickson bucket from downtown tied things up at 42 with 6:37 on the clock. However, the Cougars found some momentum and went on a 7-0 run to take the 49-42 lead with 4:31 on the clock, heading into the first media timeout of the quarter. From there, SIUE continued to hold a tight defense and kept Tech scoreless for the last 6:35 seconds of the quarter, until a Hickson three with 10 seconds to go ended the drought. The Cougars tacked on one more bucket before the buzzer to head into the fourth leading the Golden Eagles 58-45.
SIUE continued their drive into the fourth quarter, as they created at 15-point lead at 67-52 with 5:58 remaining in game play. The Cougars maintained their lead heading late into the game, the Golden Eagles trailing by 14 at 71-57 with 3:36 to go in the contest. From there, SIUE sealed a 77-69 victory over Tech.
Hickson led the Golden Eagles with 25 points and five rebounds in the contest. Senior Goolsby tallied 19 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the game. Gwen Adams and Lauren White each led SIUE with 15 points. Adams added four rebounds and White added six boards to their performances. Nakiah Bell had 12 points and six assists in the matchup, while teammate Amri Wilder totaled 10 points in the contest.
Photo by Thomas Corhern