NASHVILLE --- Free throw shooting made the difference in the Tennessee State women's basketball team exhibition game at the Gentry Center. The Lady Tigers dropped a close one to NWBL USA Elite on Tuesday evening, 40-38.
In the first half, NWBL jumped out to an early four-point lead before the Lady Tigers knotted the game at 12. Back-to-back layups by Barbie Carmichale put NWBL ahead by four but Tennessee State tied the game again, this time at 16. TSU pulled ahead by three, its largest lead of the half before a Carmichale three-pointer and two layups put NWBL up by six, a lead they held until the end of the first half.
Junior KaSheena Powe (Moulton, Ala.) led the Lady Tigers going into the locker room with eight points while classmates Quanecia Fletcher (Moulton, Ala.) and Kendra Bailey (Cleveland, Ohio) both added seven boards.
The second half saw NWBL again grab the lead but Tennessee State never let the gap get too large. Junior Lakisha Clay (Detroit, Mich.) dropped in a three-pointer to help start a rally for the Lady Tigers. TSU turned up the offensive heat and knotted the game at 31. With five minutes left in regulation with NWBL leading by five, the Lady Tigers made their move. With two minutes on the clock, Tennessee State had begun another offensive assault. Clay knocked down her second trey of the game, moving the Lady Tigers to within three. Junior Markeice Harris (Montgomery, Ala.) was fouled but was unable to convert at the charity stripe.
With 35 second left on the clock and the Lady Tiger fans in a frenzy, Tennessee State was looking to tie the game and send it into overtime in an attempt to pick up its first win of the 2003-04 campaign. Despite three fouls in a row, TSU was unable to swipe the ball away from NWBL and they held on their slim two-point lead for the win.
Carmichale led NWBL with 14 points and she was followed by Cara Melton, who dropped in 10. Melton also had a game-high seven blocks.
Bailey finished the night with her first collegiate double-double, contributing 14 rebounds and 11 points. Both Powe and Clay, who played all 40 minutes, rounded out the top scorers for the Lady Tigers with eight points each. Clay also collected four blocks while Fletcher swiped a game-high four steals.
Tennessee State returns to action on Nov. 22 as they travel to Dayton, Ohio to take on Wright State in the regular season opener. Game time is set for 5 p.m.