By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Following a hard-fought battle against one of the top-10 scoring teams in the nation, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team fell 76-65 on Saturday at the Banterra Center.
The Golden Eagles fall to 2-1 on the season, while the Southern Illinois Salukis move to 2-1.
"I thought our kids battled really hard on the road against a very good team. SIU came in averaging 90 points per game in their first two contests this season, both of which were on the road," said head coach Kim Rosamond. "They are extremely deep, have a lot of weapons and are very explosive offensively. I was proud of our effort today, especially on the defensive end, but we just didn't finish plays on either end of the floor. We got great looks at the rim, we got to the free throw line 27 times and couldn't finish. It's hard to beat good teams on the road missing 12 free throws, countless shots at the rim and giving up 17 offensive boards on the other end."
Two Golden Eagles netted double-digit scores in the contest with junior Jordan Brock leading the way with 16. Brock had her best shooting performance of the season thus far, netting 5-of-7 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three. Maaliya Owens was the other Golden Eagle to break the double-digit mark as she tallied 12 points, including a game-high four made free throws, shooting .800 from the line.
SIU scored the opening points to start the game, but the Golden Eagles quickly responded on a huge three from Brock to take their first lead of the contest, 3-2. Following a SIU jumpshot, the Golden Eagles scored five unanswered to take their largest lead of the contest, 8-4. The Salukis responded to score four of their own and even up the first at the media timeout. SIU would go on a 6-1 run to take a five-point lead in the opening period, before the Golden Eagles would close out the first with a 3-2 run on a Brock free throw and a Taylor Lamb bucket to bring the game back within four, 16-12.
Southern Illinois opened the second on a 3-2 run to extend their lead back to five, but a pair of huge 3-pointers from Brock silenced the Salukis and gave Tech their first lead since the 6:22 mark of the opening frame, 20-19. The Salukis tallied three to retake the lead once more before Akia Harris drew a foul and knocked down her first free throw to bring the deficit to one with, 22-21, 5:46 remaining in the first half. Southern Illinois would go on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes of clock to take a 10-point lead, 31-21, with 2:30 remaining. The Golden Eagles tried to rally, but SIU outscored the Golden Eagles 5-4 to close out the half and head into the locker room down by 11.
Mackenzie Coleman connected on a layup in the paint to open the third and bring the Golden Eagles back within nine less than 30 seconds into the second half. SIU responded with six points to take a 43-27 advantage at the 6:48 mark in the third. A pair of free throws from Lamb and Harris, as well as a bucket in the paint from Wilkinson brought the Golden Eagles back within 12 at the media timeout. The Golden eagles would battle point-for-point with the Salukis through the final minute with the game remaining at a 12-point difference. SIU netted a layup with 42 seconds on the clock, but a jumper from Brock and an Owens drawn foul on a 3-pointer gave Tech a 5-0 run to close out the third and bring the game back within single digits once more, 54-45.
Southern Illinois produced a 11-3 run to open the final period to give the Salukis their largest lead of the contest, 65-48, with a little over six minutes to play. SIU held their 17-point lead, 72-55, through the 3:16 minute mark of the fourth. Tech rallied over the final three minutes of play, outscoring the Salukis 10-4 to close out the contest and bring the game to its final, 76-65.
"The positive is we got so much better on the defensive end from the Monroe game to today," expressed coach Rosamond. "We are executing and putting ourselves in position to have a lot of success on the offensive end, we just have to start stepping up and finishing plays."
The Golden Eagles continue their road trek as they travel to Murfreesboro to take on in-state rival Middle Tennessee on November 21 at 6:30 p.m.
Photo by Thomas Corhern