Golden Eagle women use depth to claim season-opening win over Cumberland

Golden Eagle women use depth to claim season-opening win over Cumberland

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – One thing was certain after the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team's 88-51 victory over Cumberland University on Tuesday night – these Golden Eagles have plenty of depth.

The Tech women (1-0) had solid production from the usual suspects, but as the Golden Eagles started to pull further away, the newcomers came out to play. In the second half alone, freshman Jada Guinn was a perfect 5-for-5, scoring 11 of her 13 points. Named the Special Olympics Player of the Game, she finished with five rebounds and six assists, while also shooting 6-for-8 in the game.

She was just one of five players who finished with double-digit scoring as Kesha Brady finished with 15 points, followed by Mackenzie Coleman (12), Jordan Brock (11) and newcomer Maaliya Owens (11).

"There's no question that we have tremendous depth on this team," said Tech head coach Kim Rosamond. "We have a lot of strengths, but on any given night you can't key in on any one player. Obviously Jordan (Brock) is going to get a lot of attention because of how she shoots the basketball. Those nights where they're trying to face guard her or do certain things to her, she's going to open things up for other players.

"I think we have a lot of players with a lot of skill that are able to score with the ball, rebound the basketball and defend. Now, we still have to put it all together. We're still learning to play together and build that chemistry out on the floor in games."

That depth went a long way in helping the Golden Eagles take their first step in the 2019-20 campaign by claiming that first victory.

"We're thankful to get the win and start 1-0," said Rosamond. "There were a lot of positives, especially in the first three quarters. I like how we started the first quarter with a 16-2 run. We had a little bit of a lull in the third quarter. After we called a timeout, we regrouped and played well the rest of the third quarter. I would have liked to have finished a little stronger in the fourth quarter, but overall I thought there were a lot of positives."

Tech used a 16-2 run to open the contest and quickly build some separation, then held the visiting Phoenix to just eight points in the first quarter and 18 in the first half. Tech scored 20 or more points in each successive period.

The two biggest stats in the night for the Golden Eagles came on offensive rebounds and assists. As Tech turned its offense into a good defense, the team pulled down 21 offensive caroms to keep possession going. That allowed Tech to take 72 total shots in the contest, knocking down 34 of those for a 47.2-percent clip.

"The offensive rebounds have been a huge emphasis in practice," Rosamond said. "That's something we've got to be better at."

Brady ended the game with eight boards, including four on the offensive side. Taylor Lamb also collected four offensive rebounds.

Tech ended the game with 47 total rebounds.

The Golden Eagles also employed some good hands in the passing lanes, setting up well-placed shots. Tech ended the contest with 22 assists, led by Akia Harris and Guinn with six dishes each.

Tech forced 27 turnovers, as Owens and Guinn each recorded a team-high three steals. The Golden Eagles turned the ball over 14 times.

"We really wanted to work on our turnovers," Rosamond said. "Outside of the fourth quarter, we took really good care of the basketball.

The lone caveat for Tech came at the line as the Golden Eagles finished 13-of-25 from the charity stripe, led by a 7-for-11 night at the line for Brady.

"We got to the free-throw line 25 times," Rosamond said. "That was probably the one disappointing stat of the night. We'll fix that, but we're getting there. We just have to convert when we get there."

For Cumberland (0-3), Ashlyn Pittman led the Phoenix with nine points, while the quartet of Kerrice Watson, Mackenzie Trouten, Abby Morgan and Kennedy Powell each added seven.

The Golden Eagles return to action next Tuesday as they host ULM in what will be Tech's last home game until December 21. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

For tickets, call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office or visit TTUsports.com.

Photo by Jim Dillon