By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, Ill. – No matter what happens on Saturday, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team will be in Evansville for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. That much is certain.
But as the Golden Eagles (19-9, 11-6 OVC) travel to Eastern Illinois, the only uncertain thing is whether Tech will be the No. 3, 4 or 5 seed in the postseason tournament next week. All three remain in the realm of possibility, but objective No. 1 for the Golden Eagles is to earn the victory over the host Panthers.
So, what could happen? The Golden Eagles will be playing in the second day of the tournament on Thursday, regardless of the result as the 4-5 and 3-6 matchups will play on Thursday at the Ford Center.
With a win and a UT Martin loss at Tennessee State, Tech will finish third. A win guarantees Tech no lower than fourth. If Tech loses and Austin Peay wins at Murray State, the Golden Eagles will drop to fifth.
But that isn't all Tech has to play for as the Golden Eagles continue their quest for a 20th win and their first 20-win season since 2010-11.
Tipoff from Lantz Arena is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Dylan Vazzano will provide the call for 106.1 The Eagle and the Golden Eagle Sports Network, while the game will also be broadcast live on ESPN+ (subscription required).
Eastern Illinois (11-17, 5-12 OVC) broke a four-game losing streak on Thursday night, toppling Jacksonville State at Lantz Arena as Karle Pace scored 13 points and Grace McRae added 10 to earn a 52-49 win. It was a close, hard-fought battle. The Panthers held on to a three-point lead after the first quarter and just held on to earn the victory.
When Tech and EIU squared off last on Jan. 12 in the Eblen Center, the Golden Eagles took a 99-88 victory as Jordan Brock went off for 33 points. Including 8-for-15 from 3-point range and a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe.
Tech's shooting was blistering in the game, shooting 66.7 percent in the first, 64.7 percent in the second, 60 percent in the third and 50 percent in the fourth quarter. However, EIU tried to keep pace, even after Tech outscored the Panthers 24-14 in the opening stanza. Like Thursday night's loss at SIUE, the Golden Eagles turned the ball over 15 times to the Panthers, leading to 18 EIU points. Still, Tech was able to counter that with 24 shots at the free-throw line, hitting 20.
EIU also had five players in double-digit scoring as Carmen Tellez led the Panthers with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Grace Lennox had 16 points, while Pace had 14 and Abby Wahl and Jalisha Smith each had 10.