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Tuesday, January 13, 2004
NASHVILLE --- The Lady Tigers are heading out on their first Ohio Valley Conference road trip of the 2003-04 campaign. Tennessee State will be taking on Southeast Missouri State on Thursday, followed by a clash with Eastern Illinois on Saturday afternoon.
Last Time Out: Tennessee State vs. Samford
The Lady Tigers were on their way to earning their first Ohio Valley Conference win of the season but could not hold on against league newcomer Samford. Tennessee State fell to the visiting Bulldogs, 63-38. Tennessee State came out strong in the first half, going on a 15-7 run and forcing Samford to call a time out at the 8:08 mark. The Lady Tigers kept the heat on, leading by as many as eight points before a three-pointer by Chelsee Insell began to chip away at the TSU lead. Back-to-back fouls sent two Bulldogs to the charity stripe put Samford up by one for their first lead of the game and a buzzer beating three-pointer by Morgan Vickery put the Bulldogs up by four heading into the break, 23-19. The second half saw the Bulldogs come alive. Insell and Vickery went into a three-point free-for-all, knocking down all six of their second stanza attempts. The pair finished with a total of 28 points. on the night. Samford went on to outshoot the Lady Tigers, 50 percent to 20 percent in the second half from the floor en route to its 63-38 victory. Senior Kisha Stewart led the way for Tennessee State, dropping in 11 points while her classmate Odessa Kelly had her second consecutive game with double digit rebounds, grabbing 10.
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 Otahkians
Southeast Missouri State is currently in the middle of the pack in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 1-1 mark in league play and a 6-7 record overall. The Otahkians are led in scoring by Kenja White, who is averaging 11.8 points per game. Heading up the rebounding unit is Chandra Brown, who is pulling down an average of 7.5 boards per game. As a team, Southeast Missouri State is third overall in the OVC in steals, averaging nine per game. The Otahkians are also second overall in three-point field goals made, averaging 6.77 per game.
Last Time Against Southeast Missouri State
The Lady Tigers dropped its season finale to the Otahkians last year, 72-81. Tristan Johnson led Tennessee State in both scoring and rebounds with 12 points and 11 boards. Quanecia Fletcher had four dishes while Latoya Clay collected three steals and Odessa Kelly continued her block streak with two swats.
Scouting the Panthers
Eastern Illinois is currently in 10th-place in the Ohio Valley Conference after dropping its first two league games to Tennessee Tech, 71-63, and Austin Peay, 54-47. The Panthers have an overall record of 3-10. The Panthers are led in scoring by Pam O'Connor, who is averaging 16.1 points per game. She is also the team leader in rebounds, grabbing 6.2 per game. O'Connor is currently among the top five scorers in the league. As a team, EIU is leading the OVC in field-goal percentage with .443 (321-724). It also has the top rebounding defense, averaging 35.8 rebounds per game, the best assist average with 18.62 apg and the top assist to turnover ratio, 0.98.
Last Time Against Eastern Illinois
Tennessee State nearly broke its four-game skid against the Panthers on February 27, 2003. Quanecia Fletcher netted a career-high 19 points and Odessa Kelly contributed 14 rebounds to the effort but it was not enough as the Lady Tigers were edged, 84-80.
Slow Start
For only the second time in women's basketball history at Tennessee State, the Lady Tigers have played the first eleven 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 has moved into the top spot in steals in the Ohio Valley Conference after snatching away nine over the Lady Tigers' opening weekend of OVC play. She now has a season total of 27, averaging 2.45 per game.
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.
Stewart Heats Up Behind the Arc
Senior Kisha Stewart has netted at least one three pointer in each of the last four games. In fact, she has dropped in at least one trey in six of the 11 games the Lady Tigers have played so far this season. The guard is third on the team in shooting from behind the arc, hitting 11 of 39 attempts (.282).
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 351 as of January 10th.
100 Boards and Counting
Junior Quanecia Fletcher crossed the century mark in rebounds against Jacksonville State last week (1/8). She currently has a career total of 103.
Inching Closer to Career Marks
Senior Zekeya Anderson has nearly 100 assists over her career at Tennessee State. After the Southern Utah contest (12/6), 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 145 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 last week went to sophomore center Emily Christian of Tennessee Tech for Player of the Week and the Rookie of the Week nod went to freshman guard Megen Gearhart of Morehead State.
Up Next for the Lady Tigers
Tennessee State has one nonconference game left on its schedule before jumping into the thick of its Ohio Valley Conference schedule. The Lady Tigers are slated to host city rival Fisk on January 19. The matchup will open up a five-game homestand with contests against Tennessee-Martin, Murray State, Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech on the horizon.