February 1, 2012

SIUE Trips Up Tennessee Tech 64-62 in OT

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Melia Duncan hit the game winner with 5.1 seconds left in overtime as SIUE won its fourth straight road contest with a 64-62 victory at Tennessee Tech.

It also was the third overtime victory of the season for Cougars, which improved to 13-8 overall and 7-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference. With the victory, SIUE took over sole possession of third place in the women's basketball standings. The Golden Eagles lost it first OVC game at the Eblen Center this season and fell to 10-14 overall and 6-4 in the OVC.

SIUE now returns home to play its next three OVC games at the Vadalabene Center. It starts with a 1 p.m. contest Saturday against Eastern Kentucky.

On Wednesday, there was plenty of drama to go around for the Cougars. Duncan's game winner was merely the topping to a double-digit comeback for the Cougars.

"Give her (Duncan) a lot of credit ... a senior wanting the ball," said SIUE Head Coach Amanda Levens. "As soon as she put it on the floor you could tell she was shooting it to make it. As soon as she got the ball it was like `give me the ball. I'm going to take this shot and win this game for my team.' "

Just getting to overtime was exciting for the Cougars. After a missed free throw by TTU's Tacarra Hayes, Michaela Herrod grabbed the defensive rebound for the Cougars and got the ball to Jazmin Hill who drained a jumper just inside the three-point line to tie the score 56-56 with five seconds left in regulation.

"That was huge shot by Jazmin to tie the game and put us into overtime. It was an incredible shot between three people. I don't know how she got it through there," said Levens.

SIUE's Raven Berry finished the game with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. It was the junior's 19th career double-double. She also led the Cougars in assists with five, tieing her career best.

"Everybody they put on her was a little different. It shows how much she has grown as a player. When she drew people to her she did a great job of finding her teammates and getting them good looks," said Levens.

With all the heroics late in the game, it was SIUE that was on the defensive early. The Golden Eagles were up by as much as 12 points at 27-15 with 5:22 to play. Levens said early turnovers didn't help.

"In the first half, we had some silly ones. In the second half and overtime, our team did a great job of taking care of the basketball," she said.

The Cougars would finish the game with just 10 turnovers to Tennessee Tech's 19.

Hill was the game's leading scorer with 19 points. Tennessee Tech was led by 14 from Jala Harris and 12 from Hayes.

"Honestly I don't get caught up in how many we've won in a row or how many we've lost. We are always just looking forward to the next one and prepare to win that one individual game. I'm proud of our team for tonight. We are going to enjoy this win on the way home and get ready for a very good Eastern Kentucky team coming to our place on Saturday," Levens said.

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