NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee State Lady Tigers saw their season come to an end Wednesday afternoon dropping a first round matchup in the OVC Tournament to SIU-Edwardsville 73-61 at the Municipal Auditorium.
“I thought we had too many turnovers and didn’t rebound very well," said TSU head coach Larry Joe Inman. "I thought that was the difference in the game really. We played hard but it just didn’t happen for us today.”
The Lady Tigers (13-15, 9-7 OVC) used some hot shooting from three to lead for much of the first half. Jasmin Shuler got TSU on the board in the opening minutes with a three, followed by another triple by Rachel Allen on the next TSU possession. Shuler led TSU with 17 points in her final career game.
A Brianna Lawrence three with 12:53 left in the first half gave the Big Blue a 11-7 edge, while another Shuler three extended the TSU lead to 16-11 with 8:59 in the half. From that point, TSU went cold from the floor, missing eight of their next 10 shots. SIUE (16-13, 9-7 OVC) used that opportunity to turn a six point deficit into a six point lead.
“I thought the biggest thing was they went in and got some offensive boards that really hurt us," said Inman about the SIUE run at the end of the half. "Then we fouled them when they did rebound it and then we had two or three turnovers right there in a row that really broke out back. Then I really thought the game was over with. We tried to make runs but we really couldn’t mount a run of our own. We hung in there and cut it to six and it stayed there forever and we just couldn’t get over the hump."
Allen's second three of the half in the final seconds pulled TSU to within four at 30-26 at half.
An old fashioned three point play by Kesi Hess closed the SIUE lead down to one, 30-29, with 18:16 remaining, but it was as close as the Lady Tigers would get being outscored 43-32 the rest of the way.
Hess, an All-OVC second team selection, ended her career with 14 points. Chelsea Hudson joined Hess and Shuler as the only Lady Tigers in double digits with 11 points and five rebounds off the bench.
SIUE held the advantage down low, holding a 42-14 advantage in points in the paint. All-OVC first team selection Raven Berry led the Cougars with a game-high 19 points and nine rebounds.
In the first and only meeting of the season on Feb. 25 at SIUE, the Cougars outrebounded TSU 54-36. The Lady Tigers did much better on the glass during the second meeting only getting outrebounded by a 40-38 margin.
Tennessee State dropped to 6-14 all-time in the OVC Tournament, a mark that includes four consecutive losses. The Tigers also fell to 4-3 all-time in Municipal Auditorium in the OVC Tournament.
TSU improved by four wins compared to last season, both in the OVC and overall.