BIRMINGHAM SOUTHERN SQUEAKS BY LADY TIGERS
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- The Lady Tigers of Tennessee State (0-9, 0-0 OVC) nearly came away with their first win of the 2003-04 campaign but fell to Birmingham Southern (7-5, 0-0 Big South) down the stretch, 62-54, in Birmingham. Tennessee State led by as many as eight points in the first half spurred by a nearly four minute Panther drought to open the first stanza. Senior Kisha Stewart (Memphis, Tenn.) led all scorers with 13 points in the first half. Birmingham Southern surged toward the break, pulling away for a slim 34-30 lead heading into the locker room. After the break, Birmingham Southern grabbed its first significant lead of the game at the 15:15 mark, 45-35. However, the Panthers were stopped cold for over eight minutes, missing eight consecutive three-point shots until senior Ricka Spears broke the drought with a layup to make the score, 47-44, at the 6:44 mark. The Lady Tigers inched to within one point, 55-54, with 2:20 left in the contest before a series of unfortunate fouls moved Birmingham Southern ahead for good. The final score of the contest was 62-54. Tennessee State outperformed the Panthers from the field, shooting 40.7 percent to 39.3 percent. The Lady Tigers also out shot Birmingham Southern from behind the arc, 54.5 percent to 42.9 percent. Stewart led all scorers with a game and season-high 21 points, 12 from shots behind the arc. Senior Odessa Kelly (Nashville, Tenn.) pulled down a game-high nine rebounds and had four blocks on the night. The Lady Tigers return to action on January 8 at the Gentry Center for a doubleheader. Tennessee State will host its Ohio Valley Conference season opener against Jacksonville State. The women's contest is set to get underway at 5:45 p.m. followed by the men's game.