Charleston, Ill. --- The Tennessee State University Lady Tiger basketball team dug themselves in a hole that they couldn't get out of in a 77-58 loss to Eastern Illinois, Thursday night in the OVC opener.
Although Tennessee State (3-4, 0-1 OVC) was nearly even in scoring with Eastern Illinois (3-4, 1-0 OVC) in the second half, the Lady Tigers trailed by as many as 23 points in the first and could not overcome the deficit.
Eastern Illinois was led in scoring by Mariah King (21) and Ta'Kenya Nixon (19).
The Lady Tigers struggled to find a rhythm in the first half and fell behind, 10-0, by the first media timeout. A three-pointer by Kesi Hess finally got TSU on the board with nearly six minutes ticked off the clock but EIU used a 17-4 run to swell its advantage to 29-7.
The Lady Tigers outscored the Panthers 10-5 in the final three and a half minutes of the first half to go into the break trailing, 37-21.
In the second half, TSU continued to fight and cut the deficit down to just 12 points following a spurt that made the score, 57-45, in favor of EIU. The Panthers, however, answered with a 10-2 run to build up a 20-point cushion with 5:19 remaining in the game.
TSU fell behind, 75-52, before Kesi Hess knocked down two three-pointers make the final score, 77-58.
Tennessee State finished the game shooting 38.6 percent from the field, including 36.4 percent from beyond the arc. Eastern Illinois knocked down 54.7 percent of its shots, including 50.0 percent from three-point range. Turnovers were nearly even (TSU-18, EIU-17) but the Panthers outrebounded the Lady Tigers, 35-29.
The Lady Tigers will continue this road trip with a contest at Southeast Missouri on Saturday. Game time is slated for 5:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center.