By MARLON SCOTT | Senior Staff Writer
Clutch players make big plays for their team when they need it. Lady Govs’ junior guard Whitney Hanley proved she was a clutch player with key baskets in the last two minutes of the Lady Govs 63-57 win against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in Cookeville, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 19.
The game was a 40-minute battle that included 21 lead changes. The Lady Govs were looking to get their fifth win in a row and stop the Golden Eagles from clinching the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title.
“We fought hard tonight. Anyone that was in the gym or saw this game tonight saw a tremendous basketball game,” said Lady Govs head coach Carrie Daniels.
“I’m so excited that our team was able to pull together and get this win. It was a back-and-forth battle for 40 minutes.”
The largest lead of the game was six points by the Lady Govs in the last 20 seconds of the game. The Lady Govs had four players score in double figures and the Golden Eagles had three.
Lady Govs senior’ guard Brooke Faulkner led all scorers with 14 points. Freshman guard Nicole Olszewski scored 12.
Both sophomore forward Meghan Bussabarger and junior center Jasmine Rayner added 11 points. The Golden Eagles’ freshman forward Molly Heady scored 12 points. Freshman guard Brianna Jordan scored 11 and junior guard Tacarra Hayes added 10.
Hanley only scored five points, but they sealed the win for the Lady Govs.
“We put four players in double figures and then there’s Whitney Hanley,” Daniels said. “She had one field goal, and then a pair of free throws, all with less than two minutes to go. I think it speaks volumes about how far our team has come and where we are right now.”
Tech’s Jordan made a 3-pointer with two minutes and 10 seconds left in the game to give the Golden Eagles a one-point lead, 55-54.
Hanley responded 24 seconds later with a three-pointer, her first field goal of the game.
After Hanley’s shot, the Lady Govs expanded their lead from the free throw line.
They were ahead 61-57 when Hanley made the last two shots of the game from the free throw line for the win.
The win improves the Lady Govs current win streak to five, their best streak of the season.
They only have two games left in the regular season, both at home.
They play Eastern Illinois, next, the team that beat who by 21 points in December and is currently tied with them for fourth place in the conference at 11 and five.
“This gives us a lot of momentum. To take a five-game win streak into the final home stand is important, but the next game coming up is the most important one,” Daniels said. “This is where we want to be playing our best.”
The game against Illinois will tip off at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Dunn Center. TAS