NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A career night from Simone Hopes helped Tennessee State pull off a regular season series sweep of Jacksonville State for the second consecutive year as the Lady Tigers prevailed, 76-67 in OVC action Wednesday night at the Gentry Center.
Hopes had a career-high 24 points along with 10 rebounds, while Kesi Hess added 18 points in a career-high 38 minutes. Rachel Allen dished out eight assists - one off her career best of nine. TSU (7-10, 3-3 OVC) has now won five straight regular season matchups versus the Gamecocks.
The first 9:30 was a back-and-forth game with eight ties and eight lead changes. TSU turned the tide in their favor when a Hess steal led to a fast break layup for Hopes to help TSU regain the lead at 19-18.
The Lady Tigers would not trail the rest of the contest as the Hess steal was the catalyst for a 15-4 run over the next 4:30. Great defense created easy offensive chances in transition as TSU had six steals over that span; two each for the triple "H "trio of Hess, Hopes and Chelsea Hudson. Hopes also had seven of the 15 points.
TSU held a 39-32 edge at the half, but JSU kept the game within reach during the second half. The Gamecocks cut the Lady Tigers lead down to four on two occasions, but TSU answered with two separate runs of 6-0 and 5-0.
Jacksonville State (0-20, 0-8 OVC) put up one final flurry cutting a nine point TSU lead with four minutes left, down to three in the final minute. The Lady Tigers closed the door on any comeback with a Hopes jumper on the left baseline with 42 seconds left.
Despite JSU shooting 50 percent from the field compared to 41 percent for TSU, the Lady Tigers had eight more offensive rebounds leading to 15 more total shots.
Jacksonville State has now lost 30 games in a row, including 29 of their last 30 on the road and 28 of their last 29 in OVC regular season play.
The Lady Tigers go on the road this Saturday to face Morehead State (7-13, 3-3 OVC) starting at 4:15 CST p.m.