By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information
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COOKEVILLE, Tenn.—For the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team (10-19, 7-9 OVC) has secured a spot in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament as a No. 6 seed. The Golden Eagles will face off against SIUE (13-16, 9-7 OVC) in the first round of the competition on Thursday, March 2, with tip set for 3 p.m. in the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.
This will be the first time that Tech and SIUE have faced off in OVC Tournament play, and will mark the 10th meeting in the series. When the Golden Eagles and Cougars faced during the regular season, SIUE defeated Tech on their home court by a 60-49 margin. In the contest Brooks led the Golden Eagles with 16 points and six rebounds in the contest, while freshman Harris tallied eight points and four assists and teammate Wilkinson recorded eight points and six rebounds for Tech. Adams notched a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the contest. Three other Cougars found themselves in double-figures: Beck tallying 17 points and eight rebounds while White posted 10 points.
As a team, the Golden Eagles shot 35.9 percent from the field, 11.8 percent from the three-point range, and 20 percent from the line while the Cougars shot 29.8 percent from the floor, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc, and 79.3 percent from the charity stripe. SIUE corralled 44 boards to Tech's 40 and forced 17 Tech turnovers while allowing just 15.
A Closer Look at the Squads:
Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson leads the Golden Eagles averaging 16.7 points per game, which ranks third amonst Ohio Valley Conference opponents. Hickson shoots 42.9 percent from the field, 31 percent from downtown, and 84.1 percent from the free throw line. She averages four boards per game and has tallied 46 assists and 29 steals thus far this season.
Senior Treyvonna "Trey" Brooks leads Tech off the glass averaging 6.4 rebounds per contest. Brooks also stands as the Purple and Gold's second leading scorer averaging 11.2 points per game. She shoots a team-best 49.1 percent from the field, 34.2 percent from the three-point range, and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe. Brooks has tallied a team-best 36 blocks on the year, while also totaling 54 assists and 34 steals.
Hannah Goolsby is the Golden Eagles third leading scorer averaging 8.7 points per game. She also averages 4.4 rebounds per contest, which is the second-best mark on the squad. Goolsby shoots 31 percent from the floor, 32.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 76.5 percent from the free throw line.
Freshman Akia Harris leads the Golden Eagles in assists with 119 on the season, while standing as the fourth leading scorer with 8.2 ppg.
Donshel Beck leads SIUE in scoring averaging 14.8 points per game. She is also the Cougars leader off the glass averaging 7.2 boards per contest. Beck shoots 45.8 percent from the field and 69.9 percent from the free throw line. She is tied for the lead for steals on the squad with 42 thus far this season, and is third in assists with 63.
Two other SIUE players are averaging double-figures this year: Lauren White with 11.9 points per game and Nakiah Bell with 10.8 points per contest.
White has totaled 42 steals (tied with Beck for most on team) and 67 assists (second-best mark on squad), while averaging 4.3 rebounds per game. She shoots 42.8 percent from the floor, 31.1 percent from downtown, and 79 percent from the charity stripe.
Bell leads the Cougars in assists with 123 on the year. She shoots 38.7 percent from the floor, 40.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 45.8 percent from the free throw line.
Sydney Bauman is a key defensive player for the Cougars, leading them in blocks with 37 on the season while averaging 5.8 rebounds per contest. She averages 5.1 points per game.
Tech in the OVC Tournament:
• First time in OVC Tournament since the 2013-14 season.
• Lost in first round to Jacksonville State 56-57.
• OVC Regular Season Titles = 18 (Last one in 2013).
• OVC Tournament Titles = 9 (Last one in 2000).
• Last time Tech was in the OVC tournament was in 2013-14 year, when they went in as a No. 3 seed.
• Have not been a No. 1 seed in the tournament since 2010-11 season.
• First time have tallied seven conference wins in a season since 2013-14 year when tallied a 12-19, 8-4 OVC record.
• Never faced SIUE in the OVC Tournament.
Tech Season Highlights:
• Freshman Akia Harris became the fifth Golden Eagle women's basketball player to record a triple-double. She accomplished the feat on Jan. 7, 2017, when Tech host OVC-opponent Murray State. Harris tallied 19 points, 12 assists, and 10 boards in the contest, leading Tech to a 72-54 victory over the Racers.
• Senior Hannah Goolsby became the 29th member of the Golden Eagle 1,000 career point club when she totaled her 1,000th career point in Tech's home game versus OVC rival Belmont on Feb. 11, 2017. Goolsby recorded 15 points and five boards in the contest. She also achieved her first career double-double on Senior Night, when the Purple and Gold squad hosted Morehead State on Feb. 20, 2017. She totaled 16 points and 10 rebounds for Tech. Goolsby hit a three-point buzzer beater vs. Austin Peay on Jan. 6, 2017, to send the contest into overtime tied at 77, however, the Governors held on to defeat the Golden Eagles 87-84.
• Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson has scored in double-figures for 22 of the Golden Eagles 29 contests thus far this season, including nine 20+ point games and three 30+ point contests. Hickson has notched two double-doubles this season, her first at Southeast Missouri (30pts & 12 boards) and her second versus Eastern Kentucky (14pts & 10 rebs). She recorded a career-best 37 points at Belmont on Jan. 21, 2017, when she added seven rebounds and three steals to her performance.
• Senior Treyvonna "Trey" Brooks is the only Golden Eagle to start in all 29 of Tech's games thus far this season. Brooks has tallied double-figures in 17 of the Purple and Gold's games this year, including five 20+ point performances. She has recorded five double-doubles this season and 10+ rebounds in six contests.
Tech Key OVC Stats:
OVC Overall Season Team Stat Rankings
• No. 4 in scoring defense - 67.2
• No. 4 in offensive rebounds - 36.1 rpg
• No. 4 in offensive rebound percentage - 34.8%
OVC Overall Season Individual Rankings
• Hickson = No. 3 in scoring - 16.7 ppg
• Hickson = No. 3 in free throw percentage - 84.1%
• No. 3 in scoring defense - 67.6
• No. 3 in free throw percentage - 72.1%
• T-No. 3 in defensive rebounds - 35.6 rpg (tied w/ APSU)
• No. 3 in assists - 15.8 apg
OVC Overall Season Individual Rankings
• Hickson = No. 5 in scoring - 16.9 ppg
• Harris = No. 4 in assists - 4.7 apg
Tech Last Season vs. This Year:
• Golden Eagles just missed out on the 2015-16 season when they finished ninth in the OVC with a 10-19, 6-10 OVC record.
• In 2015-16 season, Golden Eagles were led by senior Samaria Howard, who averaged 21 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
• This season, Tech is led by junior Hickson who averages 16.7 points and 4.0 boards per contest. In 2015-16, Hickson was the Golden Eagle's third leading scorer averaging 8.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Hickson now shoots 42.9 percent from the floor, 31 percent from downtown, and 84.1 percent from the free throw line. Last season, she was shooting 38.9 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from the three-point range, and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe.
• Goolsby was Tech's second leading scorer in the 2015-16 season averaging 8.6 points per game, now she is the Golden Eagle's third leading scorer averaging 8.7 points per contest. In the 2015-16 season, Goolsby was averaging 2.6 rebounds per game while shooting 32.7 percent from the floor, 32 percent from beyond the arc, and 72.7 percent from the free throw line. This year, she is averaging 4.4 boards per contest while shooting 31 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from downtown, and 76.5 percent from the charity stripe.
• Brooks is Tech's leader off the glass (6.4 rpg) and second leading scorer this season (11.2 ppg), whereas last season she was only averaging 2.6 points and 2.4 boards per contest.
• This season the Golden Eagles are averaging 61.7 points and 36.4 rebounds per contest, while holding their opponents to 67.2 points and 36.1 boards. In the 2015-16 year, Tech was averaging 61.8 points and 37.8 rebounds per game, while holding their opponents to 68.7 points and 40.2 boards. They are averaging 14.6 assists and 17.1 turnovers per game this year, and last year had 11.2 assists and 17.4 turnovers per game.
You can follow the Golden Eagles online on the TTU Sports and Tennessee Tech Women's Basketball Facebook pages or on Twitter at @TTUWBB and @TTUGoldenEagles.
Photo by Jim Dillon