NASHVILLE, TENN. - A Rachel Allen free throw with 17 seconds left proved to be the difference Saturday night at the Gentry Center as the Tennessee State Lady Tigers won their third straight game, 54-53.
It is the first three game winning streak for TSU since winning five in a row from Feb. 7-26, 2009, a span of 117 games.
TSU (11-12, 7-5 OVC) had two players in double figures as Simone Hopes had 11 points, while Kesi Hess added 10. Jasmin Shuler and Allen contributed eight points each.
The Lady Tigers led nearly the entire game as the Bruins never held more than a one possession lead.
Midway through the first half, TSU clamped down defensively as they turned a one point deficit (14-15) into an eight point halftime advantage, 31-23.
Belmont (15-11, 9-4 OVC) made one shot during an 11 minute, 43 second stretch between the first and second half going 1-for-11 for a total of six points.
Just when it seemed that Tennessee State had the game well in hand with their largest lead of the game, 50-39 with five minutes remaining, TSU went cold from the floor making only one field goal the rest of the contest. On the other hand, Belmont went 5-of-10 from the floor, forcing four Lady Tiger turnovers.
The Bruins completed the comeback with a three pointer from Katie Carroll, the only three that Belmont made in eight attempts, to tie the game at 53 with 39 seconds remaining.
After a missed jumper by Hopes, TSU regained possession on a jump ball. Before the Lady Tigers could inbound the ball, Adrienne Tarrence of Belmont fouled Rachel Allen to send her to the line where she made the first of her two free throws.
Katie Brooks missed a mid-range jumper on the left side on the Bruins final possession to send the Big Blue crowd home happy.
Belmont had won nine of the past 10 meetings against TSU dating back to the 2001-02 season.
The Lady Tigers look to get back to .500 when they return to the Gentry Center on Monday to take on UT-Martin (12-14, 7-5 OVC) at 7 p.m.
-- TSU TIGERS --