Cookeville, Tenn. --- The final score wasn't indicative of how hard the TSU women's basketball team played in a, 76-62, loss to Tennessee Tech on Thursday night in the Eblen Center.
Tennessee State (7-19, 3-12 OVC) battled the whole night but league leading Tennessee Tech (20-5, 14-2 OVC) proved to be too much down the stretch.
Because of an injury TSU was without its leading scorer but the Lady Tigers had five players to post double-digits led by Kim Haynes' 14 points. Destiney Gaston added 13 points while Meredith Stafford chipped in 12. Alana Morris (11) and Simone Hopes (10) also registered double-figures.
Tacarra Hayes led TTU with 25 points and 16 rebounds for a double-double while Molly Heady tallied 15 points. Brittany Darling finished with 13 points.
Tech rallied to within one, 15-14, before a bucket from Destiney Gaston put TSU back on top by three. Later in the half a couple of jumpers from Meredith Stafford and Simone Hopes made the score, 27-20, in favor of the Lady Tigers.
The Golden Eagles, however, answered with a 10-3 run to knot the game at 30-all with 2:29 remaining in the half.
TTU had a slight, 37-35, lead at the halftime break.
Destiney Gaston scored in the paint to even the score at, 37-37, in the early moments of the second half. Over the next several possessions the teams traded buckets and the score wavered back and forth.
With the score tied at 43-all Tech outscored TSU, 7-1, to grab a 50-44 lead with 11:23 on the clock. The Lady Tigers stayed within striking distance and closed to within four, 55-51, following another basket by Gaston.
On the ensuing possession, a three-pointer by Kylie Cook sparked a spurt of five unanswered points to put Tech on top by double-digits, 61-51.
Alana Morris knocked down a jumper with 6:48 left to play to cut the deficit down to single digits but that would be as close as the Lady Tigers would get.
Tech knocked down 12 free-throws and outscored TSU 15-9 in the final five and half minutes of the game to make the final score, 76-62.
Neither team shot particularly well from the field in the contest as Tennessee State shot 33.3 percent from the field including a 7.7 percent from three-point range. Tennessee Tech shot 37.7 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from beyond the arc.
TSU only committed a season-low eight turnovers in the contest while TTU had 18 miscues.
Tech outscored TSU, 34-18, in the paint and held the advantage in second chance points, 20-9. The Lady Tigers held the advantage in points off turnovers, 17-9.
The Lady Tigers return to action on Saturday at Jacksonville State. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. in the Pete Mathews Coliseum.