Williams, Henderson lead Golden Eagles over Rice, 78-65

Williams, Henderson lead Golden Eagles over Rice, 78-65

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – T'Keyah Williams notched a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Diamond Henderson added 21 points, six assists and four steals as Tennessee Tech ran away from Rice, 78-65, Saturday night in women's basketball action in Eblen Center.

Both totals were career-high numbers for Williams, a sophomore from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., who was 10-for-13 from the field. Lashay Davis contributed nine points, five rebounds and four assists for the Golden Eagles.

Jessica Kuster led Rice (1-2) with 22 points and six rebounds, while Megan Palmer netted 17 and Jessica Goswitz added 12 points and five assists.

The Golden Eagles (2-1) host three more games in November, beginning Tuesday with a visit from long-time, arch-rival Middle Tennessee State. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. as the women open a doubleheader, to be followed by the Golden Eagle men hosting Evansville at 7:30 p.m.

For tickets, visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or call (931) 372-3940.

After a tight first half, the Golden Eagles found their shooting range in the second half to connect on 55.9 percent (19-for-34), including half (5-for-10) from long distance.

The Golden Eagles owned a lopsided 45-34 advantage in rebounds, and made just 11 turnovers in the game – six in the first half and five in the second.

Neither team could gain a foothold through the first 16 minutes, taking turns owning one- and two-point leads. Tech squirted out to a six-point edge, 26-20, on a layup by Williams with 4:19 to play in the half, and a Harris jumper made it six once more, with 3:14 to play.  At the break, the Golden Eagles were on top by four, 30-26.

The Golden Eagles opened the second-half with a 12-1 run to build a 15-point advantage, moving on top by 42-27 with 16:05 to play. Williams had a couple of buckets and Davis nailed a 3-pointer to finish the run.

The Owls snapped back with a 9-0 run of their own, including two buckets by Kuster and five straight from Goswitz, closing the difference to four points, 42-38.

Katherine Barker's driving layup put a halt to the Rice run and ignited a rally by the Golden Eagles. Davis and Kellie Cook each drained long 3-pointers as Tech reclaimed a double-digit lead. Cook's trey from the left wing made it 53-41 for the Golden Eagles.

Once again, Tech took its lead out to 15 points when Williams' jumper made it 60-45, and Cook kept it at 15 with a jumper to make it 62-47 with 4:43 remaining.

But Rice wouldn't let up. The Owls pulled to within eight, 67-59, on a 3-pointer by Goswitz with two minutes left.

Henderson's floater in the lane put it back to 10, 69-59 and Davis snatched a defensive rebound that led to a spinning layup by Henderson at the other end for a 71-59 Golden Eagle lead with 1:40 remaining.

A 3-pointer from on top by Palmer sliced it back to nine points, 71-62, with 1:14 to play but the Golden Eagles came out of a timeout with a layup by Williams. Palmer nailed another 3-pointer, and the difference was eight, 73-65, with 50 seconds on the clock.

Henderson made three of four free throws down the stretch, and Williams got behind the defense for a layup with 11 seconds left for the final margin as Tech scored the last five points of the night.