WBB drops regular season finale to EIU
Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nashville --- Senior Meredith Stafford played her final game in the Gentry Center as the Lady Tigers suffered a disappointing, 69-54, loss to Eastern Illinois Saturday night.

Avery Jones had a career night and TSU led at halftime but it wasn't enough as the Lady Tigers (9-20, 5-13 OVC) were outscored, 45-29, in the second half by the Panthers (18-11, 13-5 OVC).

Avery Jones led TSU with 16 points and 12 rebounds for her first career double-double. Meredith Stafford tallied 11 points while Destiney Gaston added 10. 

Mariah King led EIU with 18 points while Ta'Kenya Nixon added 15. Hilary Held (13) and Sydney Mitchell (11) also posted double-digits for the Panthers.

It was a defensive battle in the beginning as both teams combined for only four field goals in the first 8:35 of the game. TSU was trailing, 8-5, when back-to-back jumpers from Avery Jones put the Lady Tigers on top, 9-8 (9:37).

After trading buckets over the next few possessions, Alana Morris found Denisha Mumford under the basket before Kim Haynes nailed a three-pointer to give TSU a, 16-12, lead.

EIU used a 6-2 spurt to knot the game at 18-all before stretching the advantage to, 24-20, with 2:17 left in the half.

The Lady Tigers reclaimed the lead just before the half ended with a three-pointer from Kesi Hess and a couple free-throws by Avery Jones to make the score, 25-24.

The second half was a battle from the onset with the score wavering back and forth.  A three-point basket gave EIU a 37-34 lead just before the first media timeout.

The Panthers increased the advantage to, 39-34, on the next play but Avery Jones answered with another jumper to pull the Lady Tigers to within three.

A rebound and put back by Destiney Gaston followed by a free-throw from Meredith Stafford pulled TSU even with EIU, 39-39, at the 13:14 mark.

Over the next five minutes, EIU outscored TSU, 12-5, to capture the biggest lead of the night by either team, 51-44. The Panthers used a three-pointer to stretch the advantage to, 54-44, with 6:09 remaining.

Denisha Mumford answered with a triple on TSU's trip down the floor but EIU scored six straight points to go ahead, 60-47 (3:40).

TSU fell behind, 62-47, before and old-fashioned three-point play by Stafford and a long-jumper from Morris brought the Lady Tigers to within 10 with 2:43 left.

The Lady Tigers, however, were not able to overcome the deficit as the Panthers outscored TSU, 7-2, to make the final score, 69-54.

Tennessee State shot 30.6 percent  (19-of-62) from the field, including 13.0 percent from three-point range (3-of-23). Eastern Illinois finished the game shooting 45.3 percent (29-of-64) from the field and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc (2-of-12).

TSU held the edge in rebounds, 44-41, but EIU dominated points in the paint, 38-18.

The Lady Tigers return to action next Wednesday in the first round of the OVC tournament. Seventh seeded TSU will face #6 Jacksonville State at 2 p.m. at the Municipal Auditorium.