Nashville --- The Tennessee State University women's basketball team will officially begin the 2009-10 campaign on the road at Jackson State this Saturday.
Tennessee State is coming off of its first winning season in over 10 years with an 18-13 record and a 13-5 conference mark last season. TSU returns five letterwinners from that squad and will welcome seven freshmen this season. Oby Okafor will also return to the court after sitting out last season due to injury.
Tennessee State will face Jackson State for only the ninth time as JSU leads the series 7-1. Last season, TSU opened the 2008-09 campaign with a 62-46 win over JSU in the Gentry Center. TSU knocked down 12 three-pointers and shot 42.9 percent from behind the arc. Jackson State won the battle of the boards 53-31 but also committed 35 turnovers. TSU recorded 14 steals and seven blocks in the contest.
On Monday, the Lady Tigers played in their only exhibition game of the season against Bluefield College. After a slow start, TSU eventually defeated BC 75-50. Freshman Simone Hopes recorded a double-double for TSU with 18 points and 10 rebounds. She was 8-of-11 from the field. Senior Oby Okafor tallied 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds while junior Jasmine Smith led TSU with nine boards.
Freshman Avery Jones finished with 12 points and was a perfect 3-of-3 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Senior LaDona Pierce dished out a game-best six assists.
Tennessee State had 15 assists and 13 steals but also committed 28 turnovers in the contest.
TSU vs. Jackson State is slated to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday in the Lee E. Williams Assembly Center.