NASHVILLE --- The Lady Tigers ready themselves for their first matchup of the season with the Skyhawks of Tennessee-Martin tonight. Game time is set for 5 p.m. in the Gentry Center.
Last Time Out:
Tennessee State vs. Fisk
The Lady Tigers collected their first win of the 2003-04 campaign in fine fashion on Monday night. Tennessee State dismantled city rival Fisk, 88-38, in the programs' sixth-ever meeting.
Tennessee State never let the Bulldogs come close,
commanding the tempo of the game from the opening
tip. The Lady Tigers opened on a 6-0 run and never looked back. TSU capitalized on a Fisk scoring drought that lasted the last six minutes of the first half and scored 15 points to lead 44-12 at the break.
By halftime, junior Lakisha Clay had already dropped in 11 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line and three other Lady Tigers had recorded eight points each. The Bulldogs'
highest scorer only managed five points in the first stanza. Tennessee State held Fisk to 26.3 percent shooting from the field in the first half and forced 21 turnovers.
The Bulldogs finally managed to start scoring at
the beginning of the second stanza, slimming the Lady Tigers' lead to 27 before Tennessee State pulled away for good. Fisk sent the Lady Tigers to the charity stripe 10 times in the second half alone and red-hot Tennessee State did not miss one shot.
On the night, the Lady Tigers, who were led in scoring by senior Kisha Stewart with a career-high
21 points, shot over 44 percent from the floor and
shot over 70 percent from the free-throw line.
Tennessee State had a total of five players to score in double digits -- Stewart, senior Odessa Kelly (18),
Clay (15), junior Kendra Bailey (12), and rookie LaRaea Starr, who dropped in a career-high 10 points.
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 Skyhawks
Tennessee-Martin comes into tonight's contest fresh from a 70-67 loss to Murray State on Tuesday night. Tiffany Brundige was the leading Skyhawk scorer with 23 points and six assists and Andreika Jackson contributed 16 points and pulled down a
game-high eight rebounds.
Overall, Tennessee-Martin is led in scoring by senior
forward Julie Young, who is averaging 12.3 points per game. The team's leader in rebounding is freshman forward Jackson, who is averaging 6.9 boards per game.
Last Time Against Tennessee-Martin
Tennessee State picked up one of its two conference
wins over the Skyhawks last year on February 10th at the Gentry Center. The Lady Tigers defeated Tennessee-Martin by the slim score of 85-82.
Odessa Kelly racked up a career-high 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her third consecutive double-double. Aquanya McClain also scored in the
double digits, contributing 19 points and eight rebounds.
The Lady Tigers hold a 22-15 series advantage over Tennessee Martin. The last time the Skyhawks came away with a win over Tennessee State was January 11, 2003 in Martin, Tennessee. UTM defeated Tennessee State, 82-70.
Hey, Hey! It's Clay!
Junior Lakisha Clay turned in an outstanding performance against Fisk. The guard scored a career-high 15 points, including going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. It was the second time Clay accomplished the feat, doing it for the first time this
season against Southeast Missouri State (1/15).
Senior Odessa Kelly and junior Kendra Bailey hold down the nine and 10 spots, respectively, when it comes to overall rebounding in the Ohio Valley Conference. Kelly has a total of 84 boards, averaging 6.5 per game, while Bailey has a total of 80, averaging 6.2 per game.
In conference games only, Kelly is seventh, grabbing 30 rebounds (7.5 rpg) while Bailey is ranked 17th with a total of 22 (5.5 rpg) and sophomore Denina Lockridge is tied for 19th, with a total of 20 (5.0 rpg).
For only the second time in women's basketball history at Tennessee State, the Lady Tigers played the first thirteen games of the season without a win. The last time Tennessee State had that 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 continues to hold the top spot in steals in the Ohio Valley Conference after picking up 10 over the last three contests. She leads in overall games (37, 2.54 spg) and in conference games (15, 3.75 spg).
The Detroit native has had at least three takeaways in each of the last six contests. She grabbed a season-high five steals against Samford (1/10).
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 tied for 7th with 13 swats.
The Lady Tigers' lone true freshman, LaRaea Starr, picked up her third career start against Fisk (1/19). In the contest, she played a career-high 18 minutes on the hardwood. She also netted a career-high 10 points, after going 4-of-6 from the charity stripe.
The Minneapolis native also notched a career-high four steals and tied her career-high of four rebounds against the Bulldogs.
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 367 as of January 19th.
100 Boards and Counting
Junior Quanecia Fletcher crossed the century mark in rebounds against Jacksonville State earlier this month (1/8). She currently has a career total of 107.
Inching Closer to Career Marks
Senior Zekeya Anderson has nearly 100 assists over her career at Tennessee State. After the Fisk contest (1/19), the St. Louis native moved to within 10 of crossing the century mark.
KaSheena Powe is closing in on 200 boards by the end of this season. The junior guard currently has 151 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.
Picking up honors for performances last week were Austin Peay's Gerlonda Hardin (POW), Southeast Missouri's Sami Jo Cotton (NOW), and Andreika Jackson of Tennessee-Martin (ROW).
Tennessee Tech's head coach, Bill Worrell, was suspended for his actions during a January 17 contest with Eastern Kentucky. He was ejected from the contest after picking up two technical fouls and was given a one-game suspension by Ohio Valley Conference commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher.
Up Next for the Lady Tigers
Tennessee State continues its five-game homestand with tonight's contest against Tennessee-Martin. The Lady Tigers opened the homestand with a 88-38 win over city rival Fisk earlier this week.
The Lady Tigers will host Murray State on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Gentry Center.