The Tennessee Tech women’s basketball team is looking forward to its upcoming season with great expectations.Coach Sytia Messer, who is in her second year as the head coach at Tech, is excited about the season and the talent that she has on her team. The Golden Eagles were picked to finish fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference in the preseason polls.
“We want to win,” Coach Messer said, “but we understand that is going to take hard work. We are just going to take it one possession at a time.”
The Golden Eagles have set their goals to make the defensive aspect of their game the main focus. They have been working hard on defensive drills and hustling in practice.
“We spend maybe an hour and a half of our two and half hour practices on defense and getting better at defending as a team,” Messer said. “We are very excited and committed on the defensive end.”
The Golden Eagles have set a goal for the season to try to force an average of 20 turnovers per game.
Even though the Golden Eagles are a team with no seniors and only four juniors on the roster, they have plenty of experience between them.
A lot of the leadership responsibilities will fall on the shoulders of its two preseason OVC players Kellie Cook and Tacarra Hayes.
Hayes finished the season last year earning a spot on the 1st team All-OVC team, while Cook earned a spot on the All-OVC freshman team. Hayes led the team in scoring last year with 16.9 points per game, while Cook followed right behind her with 12.6. Hayes also led the Golden Eagles in the rebounds and assists categories, while Cook finished second in rebounds and third in assists.
The Golden Eagles have a slew of newcomers to complement their style of play. Freshman Briana Jordan, daughter of Brian Jordan who played for the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons, has been a key acquisition for the Golden Eagles because she is a true point guard with a pass first mentality that seems to open up players such as Hayes and Cook for more scoring opportunities.
Also, another key player that should prove to be a big difference for the Golden Eagles, both figuratively and literally, is junior Brittany Darling. Darling is a 6-foot-5-inch center that will play a big role in shutting down the paint along with freshman Candace Parson, who is currently out indefinitely with an injury.
“I think Brittany will cause some matchup problems in the OVC because there’s not a lot of girls her size in our conference,” Messer said. “The number one thing she will do for us is alter shots.”
The Golden Eagles also have many other newcomers that should impact the season.
With the experience and leadership of some of those upperclassmen and some newcomers stepping in as leaders as well in their respective roles, the Golden Eagles will try to push through the OVC and capture an OVC championship.