Gainesville, Fla. --- Despite outscoring the opponent in the second half, the Tennessee State University women’s basketball team dropped a, 66-58, decision to LaSalle on the final day of the Gator Holiday Classic.
Tennessee State rallied down the stretch but could not bounce back from a sluggish first-half start and fell to 3-10 on the season.
LaSalle (4-6) was led by Micahya Owen’s 19 points while Khristen Lee (14) and Alicia Cropper (12) also registered double-digits.
Four empty possessions to open the game led to TSU falling behind, 8-0, with about three minutes ticked off the clock. Rachel Allen hit a three-pointer to finally get the Lady Tigers on the board but the Explorers answered right back with a triple of their own to go up, 11-3.
Over the next several minutes, TSU suffered another scoring drought and fell behind, 24-3. Alana Morris hit a free-throw to end the seven-minute scoring drought before TSU scored four unanswered points to close the gap to, 27-11.
Towards the end of the half, TSU turned up its defensive pressure and held LaSalle scoreless for five minutes. The Lady Tigers, however, weren’t able to capitalize as they missed six free-throws during the span.
LaSalle led, 32-18, at the break as Tennessee State only had three field goals in the opening stanza.
After making a number of attempts into the lead in the second half, TSU managed to chop the deficit down to down to ten points halfway through the frame.
TSU finally cut it to single digits when Rachel Allen connected from long range to make the score, 58-49, in favor of LaSalle at the 2:29 mark.
The Lady Tigers pulled to within five a few times down the stretch but that would be as close as they would get as time ran out on their run.
Tennessee State shot 45.7 percent from the field in the second half and finished the game with a 33.3 percent clip. TSU also knocked down 40 percent from the three-point line in the second half. The Lady Tiger struggles from the free-throw line continued as they only connected 51.9 percent from the charity stripe.
TSU only committed 16 turnovers and outrebounded LaSalle 45-39.
The Explorers shot 34.5 percent from the field, including 42.9 percent from long range while making 25-of-32 free-throws.
Tennessee State will close out the year with the first Ohio Valley Conference contest of the season at Eastern Illinois on Saturday Dec. 28. Game time is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. in Lantz Arena.