NASHVILLE, TENN. - In a performance right out of the pages of Jekyll and Hyde, the Tennessee State women's basketball team overcame a 15 point halftime deficit, but couldn't close the deal as Tennessee Tech prevailed in overtime 71-68 at the Gentry Center on Monday night.
Senior Simone Hopes led all players with 23 points, while fellow senior Kesi Hess added 19.
The Golden Eagles (13-10, 7-3 OVC) led the entire first half from their opening possession on a Candace Parson layup, her only points on the night.
TSU (8-12, 4-5 OVC) went cold from the field during the second 10 minutes as they missed 13 of their final 14 shots of the half and were held scoreless over the final 6:20 of the half. They shot only 20 percent from the field over the first 20 minutes.
The Golden Eagles capped off the half on a 15-3 run to take a 29-14 lead into the locker room.
The Big Blue picked up the pressure on defense with a full court press and played a much faster pace offensively coming out of halftime. TSU equaled their first half output in the first 4:09 of the second half as they scored on six of their first seven second half possessions to cut the 15 point deficit down to eight.
TSU tied the game and held their first lead of the contest with 10:17 remaining in regulation after Alana Morris knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Lady Tigers the 44-43 edge.
The lead changed hands eight times over the final 10 minutes with neither team holding more than a two point lead over the final 9:16.
Jala Harris of Tennessee Tech hit a jumper with 10 seconds left to force overtime at 58 apiece. Harris led Tech with 19 points and six assists.
Hopes and Hess combined for all 10 of TSU's overtime points and a Hopes jumper with 10 second left tied the game for the eighth time at 68. The game winner came from the most unlikely of sources as Kellie Cook drained a three from the right wing with four second left. It was Cook's only shot attempt and point of the night.
A Jasmin Shuler three at the buzzer fell short as TSU shot 0-of-13 from beyond the arc. The Golden Eagles hit all five of their shots in overtime.
The last overtime game for TSU was an 86-80 home win vs. Morehead State on Jan. 19, 2012.
TSU has lost seven in a row to Tennessee Tech with their last win vs. the Golden Eagles coming on Jan. 24, 2009.
The Lady Tigers travel to take on Austin Peay on Saturday at 5:15 p.m., followed by a game at Murray State next Monday Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
-- TSU TIGERS --