It was a sweet Valentine’s Day for the JSU women who stepped up and defeated Tennessee Tech 67-58 in front of the home crowd at Pete Mathews.
The Gamecocks were on fire with their free throws in the second half as they made 11-of-12. Candace Morton had four more in the second and Tyler Phelion had five. On the night, the team was 17-of-19 from the free throw line. Morton led the night in total points with 18 while Gretchen Morrison had 12 and Phelion had 11.
While JSU had more points in the first half with 34 to TTU’s 24, the Golden Eagles came back to give JSU a scare as they scored 34 to JSU’s 33 in the second half. It was not enough to contain the Gamecocks who left the first half in the lead and would not release it for the remainder of the game.
The first half opened with the first points belonging to Tennessee Tech. They would lead for around three minutes until JSU tied the game and stole the lead with a shot from Morton.
The score would be tied three more times during the first half and the lead changed from JSU to TTU and back again before the third tie settled it. JSU took the lead out of the half’s final tie at 10:29 and carried it for the remainder of the first.
When Tennessee Tech came within one, it took a three-pointer from Briana Benson to bump the lead back up to four. The Gamecocks led by as many as 12 with 15 seconds remaining before the Golden Eagles hit two free throws on a Benson foul to cut the lead to ten. The Gamecocks entered the half ahead of TTU 34-24.
The first half was productive on free throws for the Gamecocks as they hit 6-of-7 with four coming from veteran guard Morton.
The second half saw JSU in the lead early on. Despite TTU’s best efforts, the closest they got to the Gamecocks was four points. JSU had their highest lead of the second half with 11 at the 6:32 mark after a made three-pointer by Gretchen Morrison set their lead at 50-39.
The Gamecocks would keep their lead within seven until 2:42 when two free throws dropped their lead to six at 55-49. With the game coming to an end, TTU attempted to claw their way back to the lead, but never made it past the six points that they were down by. The Gamecocks made eight free throws in the final minute to seal their 67-58 victory and earn their hard fought 17th win.
The JSU women’s regular season draws to a close as they reach their final games of the season. They will play Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 18, weather permitting, in Richmond. Their final home game will be on Feb. 21 against Tennessee State.