By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Members of the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team will compete against someone other than themselves for the first time in the 2018-19 season, when they welcome Hiwassee College for an exhibition date on Sunday, October 28 at 2 p.m. in the Hooper Eblen Center.
Tech returns almost every significant contributor from last year's squad, which was the youngest of any of the 12 teams in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Among the pieces coming back is junior point guard Akia Harris, who will start her third season at the helm of coach Kim Rosamond's offense after logging 30.1 minutes per game as a freshman and 34.0 in 2017-18.
The Chattanooga native recorded 103 assists and turned the ball over just 69 times last season for a ratio of 1.5, which ranks third among returning players in the OVC.
She also co-led the team with 36 steals and knocked down better than 39 percent of her attempts from three-point range.
Sophomore Jordan Brock will once again be Harris' backcourt mate. The Harlan, Ky. guard was the featured long-range threat in the Tech offense last year, connecting on 68 of her 190 attempts from distance. At a rate of 2.3 made triples per game, Brock was fourth among all OVC sharpshooters and No. 1 among freshmen.
With 11.3 points per game last year, Brock is Tech's returning leading scorer and one of two players on this year's team who shot over 80 percent from the free throw line (.803).
Forward Mackenzie Coleman is back for her sophomore campaign after being named to the conference's All-Newcomer team a season ago. Coleman made 25 starts for TTU last year, the most of anyone in the seven-member freshman class.
The athletic, 6-foot, 3-inch Coleman was a major presence on both ends of the floor for the Golden Eagles, averaging just under 11 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, and making a team-high 48.4 percent of her field goals while dominating the paint defensively with 50 blocks. The Edmonton Ky. native produced 1.7 blocks per game, which was fourth-best in the OVC and first among freshman. She also led Tech from the charity stripe with a .808 percentage
Kesha Brady's return from a season-ending injury that cut short a breakout freshman campaign also brings intrigue. Prior to going down, Brady had started the first 13 games of the season and averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, had the team's best three-point field goal percentage (42.9), and shot over 40 percent from the field overall (41.9)
Hiwassee College competes independently in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
The Tigers turned in a 20-win season last year, finishing 20-10 with a berth in the NCCAA National Tournament.
Tech will be off for nine days following its dress rehearsal with Hiwassee, before opening the regular season at home against Cumberland University at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6.
Photo by Thomas Corhern