The Lady Tiger basketball team is preparing for its matchup with Ohio Valley Conference newcomer Samford in the programs' first-ever contest on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Gentry Center.
Last Time Out:
Tennessee State vs. Jacksonville State
For the second consecutive contest, Tennessee State saw a senior turn in a season-high performance from the hardwood. This time the honor went to Nashville native senior forward Odessa Kelly. She recorded her first double-double of the season with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Unfortunately, her effort was not enough to push the Lady Tigers to victory in TSU's Ohio Valley Conference home opener as they fell, 89-67, to Jacksonville State.
The Lady Tigers couldn't quite find a shooting rhythm even after holding Jacksonville State scoreless from the floor for the first four minutes of the first half. The Gamecocks went on a 16-0 run before a jumper by Kelly broke the Tennessee State four-minute scoring drought. The Lady Tigers would move as close as 15 at the 6:53 mark before Jacksonville State pulled away, 43-24, at the break.
In the second stanza, spotty shooting continued to plague the Lady Tigers. After holding current OVC Player of the Week Shanika Freeman to only four points in the first half, Tennessee State was unable to contain her as she knocked down 6 of 9 shots from the floor en route to scoring 14 on the night. The Lady Tigers were only able to inch as close as 19 points before Jacksonville State distanced itself for the 89-67 win.
Welcome to a New Era in TSU Basketball
This season marks the first for the revamped Lady Tiger basketball team under Head Coach Sharon Allen. Allen enters into her fifth year of head coaching overall and her first at Tennessee State in 2003.
Allen comes to the Tennessee State program after spending the last five seasons with Mississippi State. While with the Bulldogs, she served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
While serving as an assistant, Allen saw players honored as Kodak All-Americans, one SEC Player of the Year, one SEC Freshman of the Year, one Associated Press Freshman of the Year, three SEC First-Team selections and two players tabbed Associated Press All-SEC First-Team. During the 1999-2000 season, the Lady Bulldogs had their first 20-win season in program history and defeated the then-No. 2 ranked team in the country, Louisiana Tech. That same season, Mississippi State was the runner-up in the SEC Tournament.
In postseason action, Mississippi State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2002 after advancing to the third round of the WNIT the previous season.
She also helped the Lady Bulldogs to their best overall record in school history, 24-8.
Scouting the Bulldogs
The Bulldogs of Samford have had a productive first half of the season since joining the highly-competitive Ohio Valley Conference, going 6-4 against non-conference opponents.
Samford lost its first OVC contest to fellow league newcomer Jacksonville State earlier this week. The score was 70-68 in favor of the Gamecocks.
The squad is led by rookie Alex Munday in both scoring and rebounding. She is averaging 14.4 points per game and 6.2 boards per game. The six-time Ohio Valley Conference Rookie of the Week also leads the team in field goals made (66), field goals attempted (137), shooting percentage (48.2 percent) and is tied for the lead in steals (14).
Last Time Against Samford
Tonight's clash will be the first meeting Tennessee State and Ohio Valley Conference newcomer Samford in women's basketball this season. It will also mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
For only the second time in women's basketball history at Tennessee State, the Lady Tigers have played the first ten games of the season without a win. The last time Tennessee State had this slow of a start was the 1987-88 season. The Lady Tigers went on to finish that campaign with a 0-26 mark under Head Coach Richard Miller.
(Don't) Stop Thief!
Junior Lakisha Clay is currently ranked second in the Ohio Valley Conference in steals. She has snatched away a total of 22, averaging 2.00 per game. She is just behind Jacksonville State's Shanika Freeman, who has a total of 20.
Get That Out Of Here
Senior Odessa Kelly not only leads the Lady Tigers in blocked shots, she is also among the best in the OVC. She is currently ranked No. 11 with seven swats.
Hey, Hey! It's Clay!
Junior Lakisha Clay can be found among the tops of three Ohio Valley Conference categories this week. The No. 2 stealer in the league is also tied for seventh overall in assists with a total of 24 (3.0 apg) and is eighth overall in assist/turnover ratio with 0.56.
We'll Take That
Tennessee State has two players ranked among the top-10 in the Ohio Valley Conference in offensive rebounding. Senior Odessa Kelly leads the way, averaging 2.88, at No. 6, followed by junior Kendra Bailey, who is averaging 2.75 at No. 7.
Captains, My Captains
Two players have been selected co-captain by their teammates and coaches for the 2003-04 campaign -- junior KaSheena Powe and senior Kisha Stewart.
'O' My Goodness!
Nashville native senior Odessa Kelly crossed the 500 point threshold with her season-high 27 point performance against Jacksonville State on January 8th.
She also recently topped the 300 plateau in rebounds against Alabama A&M (12/18), after grabbing six in that game. She now has a career total of 329 as of January 8th.
Inching Closer to Career Marks
Senior Zekeya Anderson has nearly 100 assists over her career at Tennessee State. After the Southern Utah contest, Anderson moved to within 12 of crossing the century mark.
KaSheena Powe is on her way to 200 boards by the end of this season. The junior currently has 141 rebounds under her belt, including this season.
Around the Ohio Valley Conference
Southeast Missouri State was picked to take the 2003-04 crown by Ohio Valley Conference women's head basketball coaches and sports information directors. The Otahkians edged out last year's champion, Austin Peay, by just six points in the voting. Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech and Morehead State rounded out the top five selections.
Honors for performances over the holiday break went to junior forward Shanika Freeman of Jacksonville State for Player of the Week while freshman forward Andreika Jackson garnered the Newcomer of the Week nod. Rookie of the Week honors, for the sixth-consecutive week, went to Samford's Alex Munday.
Up Next for the Lady Tigers
Tennessee State is entering into the thick of its Ohio Valley Conference schedule. After tonight's contest with OVC newcomer Samford, the Lady Tigers will be on the road next week, taking on Southeast Missouri State and Eastern Illinois before coming home for its final non-conference game of the season against city rival Fisk on January 19.