Monday, December 15, 2003
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State women's basketball team (0-5, 0-0 OVC) hosts its final two-game homestand of non-conference opponents this week. The Lady Tigers will take on Middle Tennessee tonight and Alabama A&M on Thursday night. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The Lady Tigers have been off since Dec. 6 when they returned from the Lobo Southwest Airlines Shooutout in Albuquerque, N.M. Tennessee State dropped both of its first-time contests to host-New Mexico in the opening round and Southern Utah in the consolation game.
Last Time Out: The Lobo Southwest Airlines Shootout

Tennessee State's first visit to the state of New Mexico was not as fruitful as the team would have liked. The Lady Tigers had two first-time opponents in host-New Mexico and Southern Utah at the UNM Lobo Southwest Airlines Shootout. On the first night of the tournament, Tennessee State took on New Mexico. The Lady Tigers were unable to find a rhythm against a Lobo team that went to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament last year. Down 38-8 after the break, Tennessee State continued to outshoot the Lobos from the free-throw line but it was not enough as the Lady Tigers fell, 89-18. The loss was the second-worst in the history of the program. The Lady Tigers took on Southern Utah, another first-time opponent, in the consolation game of the Shootout. Tennessee State was plagued by turnovers that proved costly down the stretch. The Thunderbirds snapped the Lady Tigers' streak of outshooting opponents from the charity stripe that extended four games, knocking down 57.1 percent to TSU's 45.5 percent. The Lady Tigers fell, 83-40, falling to 0-5 on the young season.

Welcome to a New Era in TSU Basketball

This season marks the first for the revamped Lady Tiger basketball team under Head Coach Sharon Allen. Allen enters into her fifth year of head coaching overall and her first at Tennessee State in 2003. Allen comes to the Tennessee State program after spending the last five seasons with Mississippi State. While with the Bulldogs, she served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. While serving as an assistant, Allen saw players honored as Kodak All-Americans, one SEC Player of the Year, one SEC Freshman of the Year, one Associated Press Freshman of the Year, three SEC First-Team selections and two players tabbed Associated Press All-SEC First- Team. During the 1999-2000 season, the Lady Bulldogs had their first 20-win season in program history and defeated the then-No. 2 ranked team in the country, Louisiana Tech. That same season, Mississippi State was the runner-up in the SEC Tournament. In postseason action, Mississippi State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2002 after advancing to the third round of the WNIT the previous season. She also helped the Lady Bulldogs to their best overall record in school history, 24-8.

Scouting the Lady Raiders

The Lady Raiders are led in scoring by Patrice Holmes, who is averaging 20.4 points per game. For the second time in three weeks, she was named Sun Belt Player of the Week (week of Dec. 8), this time after scoring a career-high 29 points against Xavier (Dec. 3), marking the third time she dropped in 20 or more points in a contest. Krystle Horton holds a slim rebounding lead over Holmes, grabbing 7.2 to Holmes' 7.0 boards per game. Horton is the squad's second-leading scoring, knocking down 15.4 points per game. As a team Middle Tennessee is outscoring its opponents by 9.2 points, knocking down just over 50 percent of shots from the floor. The Lady Raiders are also outrebounding their foes, grabbing seven more boards on average.

Last Time Against Middle Tennessee
Though Tennessee State fell to the Lady Raiders last year, 83-62, it was not for a strong defensive effort. Four Lady Tigers scored in double digits and the team shot just over 40 percent from the field. Middle Tennessee has a commanding 32-10 series advantage lead over Tennessee State heading into tonight's contest.
Slow Start

For only the fourth time in women's basketball history at Tennessee State, the Lady Tigers have played the first five games of the season without a win. Most recently, it was the 2000-01 campaign that eventually saw the Lady Tigers go 8-19 on the season. The first time Tennessee State had this slow start was the 1984-85 season. The Lady Tigers went on to finish the campaign with a 11-14 mark.

Walk On In, Step Right Up
Tennessee State has two new members gracing the roster who have come in and made an immediate impact. Sophomore Akeila Joy Thompson, a native of Blytheville, Ark. and freshman Cheri Nash, a native of Atlanta, Ga., are the two newest Lady Tigers. Thompson, a 5-2 guard, has made appearances against Wright State and UNC-Asheville, recording five minutes and one rebound. Nash, a 5-4 guard, made her collegiate debut against Wright State, playing one minute off the bench and grabbing one rebound against UNC-Asheville.
Holding Steady in OVC Stats
Four Lady Tigers find themselves among the top of Ohio Valley Conference performers in several categories. Senior Kisha Stewart is ranked No. 25 in scoring in the OVC, averaging 9.4 ppg. Her classmate, Odessa Kelly, is ranked in two categories - No. 13 in overall rebounding (6.2 rpg) and No. 9 in offensive rebounding (2.80 orpg). Junior Lakisha Clay finds herself on three lists -- No. 15 in assists (2.60 apg), tied for fourth in steals (2.00 spg), and tied for 13th in defensive rebounds (4.00 dprg). Fellow junior transfer Kendra Bailey makes appearances on four lists -- tied for No. 6 in overall rebounding (7.4 rpg), tied for 7th in blocked shots (1 bpg) and defensive rebounding (4.80 drpg).
Going the Distance
Two Lady Tigers have played the full 40 minutes of regulation so far this season. Junior Lakisha Clay went the distance against NWBL USA Elite (11/18) in Tennessee State's lone exhibition game of the season. Senior Kisha Stewart recently accomplished the feat against UNC-Asheville (11/30).
The Swat Team
Junior Kendra Bailey is heading up the Lady Tigers' swat squad. She has batted away a team-leading five so far this season.
Captains, My Captains
Two players have been selected co-captain by their teammates and coaches for the 2003-04 campaign -- junior KaSheena Powe and senior Kisha Stewart.
Statistically Speaking
Senior Kisha Stewart continues to lead the Lady Tigers in scoring, averaging 9.4 points per game. Following close behind her is classmate Odessa Kelly, who is knocking down 7.6 ppg. From the charity stripe, sophomore Denina Lockridge is knocking down 80 percent of her shots. Kelly is also shooting over 70 percent from the free-throw line, hitting 9 of 12 attempts.
Inching Closer
Several Lady Tigers are closing in on milestones in their collegiate careers. Senior Odessa Kelly is creeping up on 500 career points. After TSU's matchup with Southern Utah, Kelly is just 46 points shy of the mark. Last year, she averaged 11 points per game. Kelly is also nearly 300 career rebounds. Currently, she has a total of 294. Classmate Zekeya Anderson has nearly 100 assists over her four-year career at Tennessee State. After the Southern Utah contest, Anderson moved to within 12 of crossing the century mark. Junior Quanecia Fletcher has recorded nearly 100 rebounds in three years with the Tennessee State program. She currently has a total of 85. KaSheena Powe is on her way to 200 boards by the end of this season. The junior currently has 128 rebounds under her belt, averaging nearly 60 a year.
Around the Ohio Valley Conference
Southeast Missouri State was picked to take the 2003-04 crown by Ohio Valley Conference women's head basketball coaches and sports information directors. The Otahkians edged out last year's champion, Austin Peay, by just six points in the voting. Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech and Morehead State rounded out the top five selections. Picking up wins over the weekend were Austin Peay (69-53 over Ohio), Samford (64-56 over Jacksonville), and Jacksonville State (73-66 over UAB). Eastern Illinois fell to 3-4 on the season with a loss to Chicago State, 77-69, while Murray State and Tennessee- Martin also dropped contests to Troy State and Evansville, respectively.
Up Next for the Lady Tigers
Tennessee State will return to action on Dec. 18 as it closes out a two-game homestand, hosting Alabama A&M at the Gentry Center for a game beginning at 7 p.m.