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Women's Hoops Falls Short at Tennessee State

MSU Athletics

The Tennessee State women's basketball team denied Morehead State a game-winning shot opportunity with one second left and held on to defeat the Eagles 75-74 Wednesday night at the Gentry Center.

TSU, which is in third place in the Ohio Valley Conference, swept the season series from the Eagles and improved to 14-12 overall and 11-4 in the league. Morehead State, which entered the night in sixth place, slipped to 12-16 overall and 8-7 in the conference.

MSU trailed 75-70 with 1:24 left, but freshman Eriel McKee nailed a three-pointer with 24 seconds remaining. The Eagles had three opportunities in the final 10 seconds, but TSU blocked two attempts and deflected the final inbounds pass. The Tigers held on despite going 1-for-7 from the field in the final three minutes.

"I was proud of our effort," Head Coach Greg Todd said. "To come onto their home court and play as physical as we did with such a tough group they have is a testament to how hard we played. I think we had too many turnovers tonight, and that may have been the difference. We did very well rebounding though."

Morehead State turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 20 Tennessee State points off turnovers.

The Eagle also trailed 42-34 early in the second half but went on a 16-7 run in a five-minute span to regain a 50-49 lead. Neither team led by more than five the rest of the way.

Chelsea Hudson led the Tigers with 20 points, while I'mani Davis netted 16. Rachel Allen and Jayda Johnson registered 10 each. Allen had a team-best six assists.

Sophomore forward Shay Steele, who had 25 points in the first meeting with TSU, picked up her fourth double-double of the year with game-highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Senior guard Almesha Jones scored 19 points and handed out eight assists. She is now in 13th place in career scoring at MSU with 1,407.

Senior guard Maiki Viela scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds, while McKee notched 10 all in the second half for her 20th game in double digits.

"They are a tough team to guard," Todd added. "We made them shoot from the perimeter and the inside rather than drive because of their physicality. I thought in the last 10 minutes or so we did a better job of defense."

Both teams hit six three-pointers, and MSU out-rebounded the Tigers 43-39. MSU also hit 18-of-21 from the free throw line.

Morehead State hosts Jacksonville State on Saturday. The Senior Day contest will start at 3 p.m. with the women's seniors (Viela, Jones, Casey Ryans and Mackenzie Arledge) being honored after the contest and before the men's 6 p.m. scheduled game against JSU.

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