TSU Earns Berth in the Semi-Finals After 81-66 Win
Thursday, March 5, 2015
TSU Earns Berth in the Semi-Finals After 81-66 Win

NASHVILLE, Tenn.Rachel Allen and Chelsea Hudson scored 20 points apiece and the Tennessee State women’s basketball team won an OVC Tournament game for the first time since 2009, beating Morehead State 81-66 on Thursday afternoon.

Hudson was 7-of-16 from the field and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season.

Allen was a perfect 5-of-5 from beyond the three-point line and added six assists and four rebounds for Tennessee State (16-12).

Brianna Lawrence chipped in with 19 points and seven rebounds. She also had three triples, helping TSU to a 9-of-17 (53 percent) mark from downtown.

Morehead State (12-18) also had three players in double-figures led by Almesha Jones’s 19.

Allen dominated the early portion of the game, scoring nine of her 14 first-half points on three triples within the first five minutes to put the Lady Tigers in front, 11-7.

The TSU offense sputtered later in the half and was held without a point for over five minutes, allowing Morehead State to go on a 10-0 run to take a, 25-19, lead with under seven minutes left in the half.

The Eagles’ offense, meanwhile, kept rolling and the squad nailed five-straight shots to pad their advantage to a half-high 10 at the 3:38 mark.

Allen finally broke the spell with her fourth triple of the half and Jayda Johnson canned TSU’s sixth-straight freebie to cut the lead to five with just under two minutes to go in the half.

Lawrence was fouled near her own basket and made one-of-two free throw attempts on the other end with 0.8 seconds left and TSU went into the locker room down, 35-32.

The Lady Tigers shot just 30 percent (10-of-33) during the opening 20 minutes, but forced nine turnovers on the defensive end, leading to nine TSU points.

MSU converted two old-fashioned three-point plays early in the second stanza to open up a nine-point lead with four minutes gone in the period. The shooting disparity continued to be a problem for TSU as the Eagles made three straight, while the Lady Tigers were 2-of-9 nine during the same stretch.

Lawrence got the Lady Tigers back on track with a pair of corner three-pointers and then Hudson drew a charge on the defensive end, igniting the TSU fan base.

Hudson and Allen continued to pump up the crowd while taking the ball down the court and Allen fed off the energy by nailing a deep triple. Her hoop put the Lady Tigers ahead 59-58 and forced MSU to call timeout at the 7:57 mark.

TSU never relinquished the lead.

Hudson continued her effort on the defensive end, drawing another charge and hitting the floor for long rebounds. Her persistence paid off as a Davis layup on the other end put TSU in charge, 68-61, with 3:45 to go.

A Lawrence lay-in at the 1:25 mark provided the final dagger that her team needed and Johnson hit a deep three-pointer for good measure on the Lady Tigers’ next possession to help Tennessee State to an, 81-66 round one victory.

The Lady Tigers will play No. 2 seeded SIUE tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the semi-finals of the OVC Tournament in Municipal Auditorium.

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