Lady Tigers weather the storm in win over Racers
Friday, January 8, 2010
Nashville --- Tennessee State saw a 15-point lead dwindle down to just one but still managed to come away with an 82-72 win over visiting Murray State Thursday evening in the Gentry Center.

Tennessee State moves to 5-9 (2-3 OVC) while Murray State falls to 6-9 (1-3 OVC).

Freshman Kesi Hess exploded for a career-best 24 points on 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. She also recorded seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the contest. Senior Oby Okafor picked up her fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds while senior LaDona Pierce posted a career-high 17 points to go along with seven assists, two steals and two boards.

Murray State was led in scoring by Kayla Vance's 19 points while Mallory Luckett registered a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Tennessee State fell behind, 5-0, early in the first half, after two turnovers and a couple of buckets from Murray State. A few possessions later a three-pointer by Kesi Hess got TSU on the board. The Racers were leading 7-3 when the Lady Tigers scored 10 straight points and grabbed a 13-7 lead.
 
With 7:51 left to play, Jasmin Shuler knocked down a three-point bomb to make TSU's lead 24-17 before Kesi Hess caught fire. Hess connected on three triples within a span of two minutes to stretch the lead to 33-21 and force an MSU timeout.

A free-throw by Oby Okafor gave TSU a 36-21 lead with a little under four minutes on the clock but MSU closed to within 10 (39-29) just before the half ended.

Kesi Hess was 5-of-6 from 3-point range with 15 points in the first half while Oby Okafor had 10.

In the second half, TSU got off to a slow start allowing MSU to cut the deficit to single digits following a three-pointer by Rachel Isom. The Racers kept chipping away at the TSU lead and came within three at the 11:32 mark.

The Lady Tigers scored back-to-back buckets to increase the advantage to 54-47 but the Racers used a 10-4 run to close the gap to one, 58-57, with 7:11 left. On the ensuing possession, Kesi Hess knocked down her sixth triple of the game to give TSU a 61-57 cushion.

MSU came to within three two more times but key stops and timely buckets from the Lady Tigers helped keep the Racers at bay. TSU hit seven free-throws down the stretch to secure the win.

Tennessee State shot an impressive 43.8 percent (28-of-64) from the field, including 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from three-point range. Murray State went 25-of-68 from the field (36.8 percent) and 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) from beyond the arc. Both teams were basically even from the charity stripe as TSU shot 68.0 percent (17-of-25) and MSU shot 68.2 percent (15-of-22).

TSU held the advantage in rebounds, 47-40, assists, 18-10, and steals, 6-3.

The Lady Tigers return to action on Saturday when they host the Skyhawks of UT Martin. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. in the Gentry Center.