Women’s basketball wins first exhibition game

HOWARD FOR TWO – Junior Samaria Howard goes up for a jump shot against Tennessee Wesleyan. Photo by: Shea Haile

The Tennessee Tech women’s basketball team unofficially began its season Nov. 7 inside the Hooper Eblen Center. The Golden Eagles hosted the Lady Bulldogs of Tennessee Wesleyan College for the first exhibition game of the 2015-2016 season.

Tech begins the season with a few new members on the roster, including freshmen Anacia Wilkinson and Brittany Cooper. Transfers Kandace Newry, Takisha “Keke” Jordan, Lindsey Jennings, Treyvonna “Trey” Brooks and Alliyah Smith are also new additions to the team. Head coach Jim Davis got the chance to play every available player on Tech’s roster in the contest.

The Golden Eagles began the contest with a 14-2 run. The visiting Lady Bulldogs had difficulty maintaining possession early in the game, committing eight turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. Tennessee Wesleyan recovered in the first quarter, coming within two points of the lead. Tech had a slim 14-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

At the beginning of the second quarter, the Lady Bulldogs tied the game 14-14 after Kelsey Young completed a layup. The Golden Eagles went on a 10-0 run to take a 24-14 lead.

Tennessee Wesleyan fought back to a five-point deficit at the 3:12 mark of the second quarter. Tech finished the last three minutes of the period with an 8-2 run giving the team a 38-27 halftime lead.

At the half, junior Hannah Goolsby led the Golden Eagles in scoring with nine points, including two three-pointers.

The Lady Bulldogs had the advantage during first half in rebounds, out-rebounded Tech 23-19 in the first half.

Tech picked up where it left off in the second half. The Golden Eagles began the third quarter with a 9-0 run that included a layup by Samaria Howard, a jumper by Brooks and three-pointer by Goolsby. Tech maintained a twenty-point lead throughout the rest of the third quarter.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Tech had the lead 58-35. The Golden Eagles maintained its lead against the Lady Bulldogs and defeated Tennessee Wesleyan 71-52.

Samaria Howard led all scorers in the game with 16 points and discussed her approach to exhibition games.

“I went out there having fun,” said Howard. “It really does not count towards your record or anything. You get out there with your team, and you play to have fun.”

Howard stated that her defense needed to focus for improvement.

“I need to improve on my defense,” said Howard. “That is the number one thing is my defense. I love to rebound and crash the boards so those are two things I really want to improve.”

Davis pointed out his team’s rebounding as an area that needs improvement.

“I do not think we rebounded very well in the first half,” said Davis. “I told the girls before the game that was a concern. There is no way they should have been even close to us on the boards, but (the Lady Bulldogs) did a good job. They are a scrappy basketball team.”

Davis complimented his team’s ability to maintain possession of the ball and limit their turnovers.

“We did a lot of good things,” said Davis. “We only had six turnovers at the half, and we had six turnovers in the second half, so if we can continue that 12 turnovers in a game, that is well within our game goal.”

There was one statistic that had Davis optimistic about his team’s defense.

“The most important statistic is we held them to 50 shots, “ said Davis. “If we can defend and hold them to 50 shots and our opponents to 50 shots, they got to make a very high percentage to be able to score enough points to beat us. “

The Golden Eagles will have another chance to improve before its regular season begins Nov. 14. Tech will battle Martin Methodist College Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. inside the Eblen Center.