Panthers hit the road to Tennessee State

Mark Shanahan, Women's Basketball Reporter

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The Eastern women’s basketball team will get a chance to rebound from its loss to Southern Illinois Edwardsville last weekend with a midweek trip to Tennessee State.

The Tigers will be wearing pink jerseys for this game to honor Breast Cancer Awareness. Tennessee State is coming off of its second straight loss after falling 70-60 to Belmont on Saturday night at home. The Tigers have lost four of their last five games and sit at ninth place in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.

Tennessee State has been good at home this year with a 5-2 record compared to its 2-8 mark when on the road. This is a crucial game for both teams at Tennessee Martin has an overall record of 8-11 and 3-6 in the OVC and Eastern is 7-14 overall with an identical 3-6 record in the OVC.

The Tigers are averaging 65.2 points per game and shoot on average 40 percent from the field and 30.5 percent from the 3-point line. The leading scorer for Tennessee State is Jayda Johnson with 13.8 points per game while Olivia Jones (10.5) and I’mani Davis (10.0) are also averaging double-digits.

Davis, Jones and Johnson are also the team’s leading rebounders. Davis averages 7.1 rebounders per game while Jones (6.6) and Johnson (6.1) are right behind. The Tigers are coached by Larry Joe Inman who is currently in his fifth year. Last time out for the Tigers against Belmont, Johsnon was the leading scorer with 16 and Davis was the only other scorer to reach double-digits for them with 12 points. Tennessee State was outrebounded 36-29 and was hurt by a second quarter where they were outscored 19-7.

The Panthers are also coming off of a 75-59 loss to Southern Illinois Edwardsvilleat home, but they have won two of their last three games. Eastern has three current players who are averaging double-digits and the leading scorer is junior guard Grace Lennox with 15.9 points per game. Senior forward Erica Brown (11.7) and freshman guard Allison Van Dyke (10.5) also average double-doubles. Eastern averages 66.9 points per game and shoot on average 42.3 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from 3-point range.

Brown has earned a double-double in the last three games with a 10 point and 11 rebound performance against Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Saturday. This year, Brown has five double-doubles and one triple-double. She leads the conference and team in rebounds. Lennox leads the league in minutes played and finds herself amongst the top five in other categories like points, assists and steals.

This will be the 41st meeting between the two teams and Eastern leads the all-time series record 27-12. The Tigers defeated the Panthers last year at Lantz Arena 62-53 and have won the last two meetings.

The game is set to tipoff at 5:30 p.m. at the Gentry Center in Nashville, Tenn. on Wednesday evening.

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]