EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Melia Duncan hit four free throws in the final 12.8 seconds as SIUE sealed a 62-54 victory over Tennessee Tech in Ohio Valley Conference women's basketball action Monday at Vadalabene Center.
It was the only four points of the night for Duncan, who helped SIUE improve to 8-5 overall. With the win, SIUE starts the OVC season perfect with two wins.
Tennessee Tech dropped to 4-11 overall and holds an 0-2 mark in league play after being tabbed the OVC preseason favorite.
"It wasn't pretty, but we tell our team all the time that we can win ugly. We don't get any style points so I am pleased with our fight," said SIUE Head Coach Amanda Levens.
SIUE point guard Courtney Kenner led the Cougars in multiple ways. The junior from St. Louis, Mo., played 39 minutes and was the team's leading scorer with 13 points and four assists. She also grabbed three steals and did not commit a foul.
Jazmin Hill was the only other scorer in double figures with 11 points, including two three-pointers. With her two treys, the Cougar sophomore jumped into sixth place all-time with 109 career three-pointers.
The Golden Eagles finished with three players in double figures. Jala Harris led Tennessee Tech with 19 points. Brittany Darling scored 13 and OVC Preseason Player of the Year Tacarra Hayes had 12 on 4-of-13 shooting.
The difference, however, may have been the Cougar bench. Kiara Conner scored seven points and played valuable minutes in the first half when Raven Berry was on the bench just one minute into the game with foul trouble. Tierny Austin added six points in 20 minutes off the bench. The SIUE bench outscored the Golden Eagles bench 17-6.
"We want to be at least two deep at every position. We thought coming into this season that we were. Raven got in foul trouble, and Kiara had a great first half picking up where Raven usually does some things. Give her a lot of credit for staying ready and doing a great job when she got into the game," said Levens.
Tennessee Tech held the early lead against the Cougars and was up 19-18 with five minutes to play in the first half. SIUE went on an 11-2 run to end the half with a three-pointer by Hill and buckets by Conner and Valerie Finnin. The 29-21 lead at halftime would hold up in the second half.
"That is the way our team has been all season, very balanced having different people leading us in scoring. That is hard to prepare for," said Levens. "Different people step up game after game for us."
Levens said her team has done well in its first conference weekend.
"They are excited about the opportunity to play in the conference schedule and play for a conference championship. I am just proud of our team for their response and being ready for this opportunity," Levens said.