NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State held a two-point lead at halftime, but the Lady Tigers could not overcome shooting woes, especially from the free throw line, in dropping a 72-62 decision in the home opener to Southern Illinois Wednesday night.
The Lady Tigers converted just 13-of-32 free throws (41 percent) in the defeat. Several of the misses came on the front end of bonus opportunities. TSU finished the game 24-71 from the field for 34 percent.
TSU stayed within striking distance, trailing 41-38 with 12 minutes remaining, but the Salukis went on a 10-2 run to open a 51-40 lead with nine minutes left. TSU could get no closer than seven points the remainder of the game. SIU converted 22-of-27 free throws for 82 percent.
The Lady Tigers were led by Tristin Johnson and Odessa Kelly who each scored 12 points. Kelly added a game-high eight rebounds. The Lady Tigers held a 53-50 rebounding edge, 27 of TSU rebounds coming on the offensive end.
SIU (2-2) was led by Tiffany Crutcher with 18 points.
The Lady Tigers return to action with a 1 p.m. game at Alabama A&M Saturday afternoon.