Lady Tigers On the Hunt Entering the OVC Tournament

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The Tennessee State University women’s basketball team entered the month of February four wins below .500 at 8 – 12, and then came their hot streak. The Lady Tigers headed out to start a three game road trip, beginning at Eastern Kentucky where they won 86 – 74. Following the win on the road, came two more, and once the team headed back home, they knew it was time for business, winning three more, including an overtime win at Jacksonville State.
Last season, the Lady Tigers turned in a 12-18 win loss card, and before that, finished at .464 going 13 – 15 for the 2012 – 13 season. This year’s team finished with a 15 – 12 regular season record which sits among the best of the Ohio Valley Conference at third, behind University of Tennessee at Martin and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Although the teams record may not be a drastic turnaround from the prior two seasons, the fact they have won seven straight, four of which were on the road, speaks volumes and has been the longest streak since the 1993-94 season.  Head coach Larry Inman has not seen a win streak this long here at TSU since he made his debut back in 2012, winning as many as three straight.
“It’s doable, I wish we would’ve won a lot more, but we didn’t. I felt like we could’ve got at least twenty this year, but we didn’t make it, but the thing is, they didn’t let that deter what they could do. Heck, they could’ve thrown in the towel and quit a long time ago, but they didn’t, they played hard in order to get to this point. I just hope they continue to do well entering the tournament because they have been so deserving, working hard, working together, and doing all the things I ask of them as a coach. They’re just so together right now,” said Coach Inman.
On any level, no matter the sport, it’s hard to make a strong late season push. Typically because players sometimes tend to lose focus or more commonly, are battling injuries and ailments.
“We faced a lot of adversity throughout the season. At one point it seemed like it was something new every week. However, I do believe all the adversity we faced made us stronger as a unit. We overcame serious injury scares, making poor decisions off the court, and I just thank God that he has continued to watch over this team,” said senior guard Rachel Allen.
Coach Inman said that typically the first couple of years are a learning experience, sacrificing time and really getting to know the system, and also shared that some players make the transition better than others. Some of the younger players who have been called upon have taken full advantage of the opportunity. Allen too has seen the progression of the younger players, but ensures that one in particular will shine bright during her time here at TSU.
“I think in particular, Imani Davis is playing at a very high level. She is only a sophomore but she has been forced to grow up faster than anybody else. It is a beautiful thing to have a mixture of young and veteran players because they get to sit back and learn from the vets and the younger players give the team fresh energy. So it’s definitely a give and take relationship and I love it.”
Davis, a Tulsa, Okla. native, is a sophomore forward who as a freshman, played and started in all 30 games during the 2013-14 season. She averaged 7.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 assists per game last season. Her numbers this season however have increased to 10.4 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, and finished with a total of 41 steals.
The 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Championship is a four day event that will take place at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., on March 4-7.  The Lady Tigers who have earned the No. 3 seed, will face the Eagles of Morehead State as the No. 6 seed in the first round on Thursday, March 5 at 2 p.m.

About Nigel Benson

I am a senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan studying mass communications at Tennessee State University. I practice in all ares of the field, but concentrate and dedicate most of my time in the field of sports journalism.

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