Lady Tigers Fall in Season Opener to Jackson State
Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jackson, Miss. --- The Tennessee State University women's basketball team couldn't shake off a sluggish first half start in a 74-63 season opening loss to Jackson State Saturday night at Lee E. Williams Athletic Center.

Tennessee State falls to 0-1 to open the season while Jackson State improves to 1-0.

Senior Obiageli Okafor posted a team best 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting while senior LaDona Pierce tallied 10 points and five assists.  Freshman Simone Hopes pulled down seven rebounds for TSU.

Jackson State had five players to score in double-figures led by Phenicia Taylor's 25. Mar'chetta Parker added 14 while Beatrice Banks, Bridgette James and Rachel Jones posted 10 points each.

TSU grabbed an early 5-2 lead on buckets from Oby Okafor and Meredith Stafford. But the Lady Tiger offense then suffered over a five-minute scoring drought that saw Jackson State capture a 12-5 lead.

Back-to-back three point buckets from Nikki Rumph and Kesi Hess helped TSU knot the score 14-14 just before the third media timeout. JSU, however, knocked down three treys, including one at the buzzer, down the stretch to carry a 31-23 advantage into the break.

Tennessee State committed 11 turnovers and shot a dismal 29.0 percent (9-of-31) from the field in the first half.

TSU cut the deficit down to three (31-28) within the first two minutes of the second half. The Lady Tigers moved to within one after a lay-up by LaDona Pierce with 15:07 on the clock and again at the 14:26 mark.

With a little over five minutes left to play and TSU trailing 60-55, JSU rallied off nine unanswered points to go up 69-55. The Lady Tigers would not be able to overcome the deficit.

Tennessee State lost the battle of the boards 38-34 and committed 22 turnovers compared to Jackson State's 17. The difference in free-throws was disparaging as JSU went 19-of-24 from the charity stripe and TSU went 8-of-13.

The Lady Tigers will return to action next weekend when they participate in the DePaul University Tournament in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 20-21.