NASHVILLE, Tenn. – SIUE women's basketball advanced to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament semifinals for the third straight season Thursday with an 77-69 triumph over Tennessee Tech at Municipal Auditorium.
The third-seeded Cougars, 14-16, next take on seventh-seeded Eastern Kentucky in the semifinals. Tip-off time is 2 p.m. Friday.
SIUE held Tennessee Tech to nine points in the third quarter and went on a 14-0 run in the period.
"I was real proud of our team, especially how we came out of halftime," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "I thought we just had a different level of focus coming out in the second half. I thought our defense really picked up in the third quarter, and I thought that was the difference in the game."
"I think the experience from last year and the chemistry with my teammates really helps us settle down on the court," said White. "We play like it is a normal game, but we just come out and give it our all."
Tennessee Tech and SIUE battled through seven ties and eight lead changes over the first 20 minutes.
"What we did today was survive and advance," said Buscher. "I know that sounds cliché and people say that a lot, but we just lived to play another 40 minutes."
SIUE shot 50 percent from the field (8-16) in the third period while Tennessee Tech were limited to 23 percent shooting (3-13). The Cougars pushed the ball inside during the period, scoring 16 of 20 points inside the paint.
The Cougars led by as many as 16 against Tennessee Tech, which completed its season with a 10-20 record.
For the game, SIUE shot 24 of 51 from the field (47 percent). Tennessee Tech hit 24 of 56 (43 percent), including 10 three-pointers. Yaktavia Hickson led the Golden Eagles with 25 points.
Buscher said the Cougars will have to play well again tomorrow against Eastern Kentucky if it hopes to make its first OVC Tournament title game.
"We just are going to give it our all and lay it out there, and we will see where it is at the end of the game," added Buscher.