Notebook: Tennessee Tech topples Belmont in upset


File Photo

Shareef Smith puts up a layup attempt as a Fontbonne University defender defends him during Eastern’s 90-37 victory over the Griffins on Dec. 4 in Lantz Arena.

JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

The Ohio Valley Conference has already seen more action in its women’s basketball standings this season than it did all last year, and it’s only two conference games into the season. 

In a year where the conference already saw its football juggernaut Jacksonville State’s conference winning streak end at 36 games., Tennessee Tech delivered a mighty blow to the conference’s other powerhouse, ending the Belmont women’s basketball program’s winning streak at 47 games with a win over the Bruins on Saturday.

Belmont losing to any OVC school carries with it a heavy shock factor in itself, but Belmont losing to Tennessee Tech, who was picked to finish 7th in the conference, amplifies the upset even more.

The win for the Golden Eagles could be a sign that the young team has progressed much faster than anyone in the conference gave them credit for. Tennessee Tech finished with a 4-14 conference record last season, starting mostly freshmen. 

Golden Eagles head coach Kim Rosamond said before the season that the team’s abysmal conference record last year was a result of the team being so young but was excited about the returns of most of those young players this season one year older. The team was expected to be better this year than 4-14 by its peers, but no one would have predicted that the Golden Eagles would be the first team in the last 47 tries to knock off Belmont. 

Oh, and the Golden Eagles sit atop the conference with a 2-0 record (10-3 overall).

Tennessee Tech, fresh off its win over Belmont, is casting a pretty big shadow of hype over the rest of the conference, which might be a little unfair in the eyes of Austin Peay, the team picked to finish 9th in the conference which currently sits with Tennessee Tech in first place with a 2-0 record.

Austin Peay did not get to its 2-0 start in quite as exciting a fashion as Tennessee Tech, but the Governors now boast wins over Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State.

The Governors were a conference tournament team last season but took a hit in the preseason poll after they lost three starters from last season; thus far, however, it looks like Austin Peay may have merited a little more respect.

Seven teams, including Belmont, Eastern and Tennessee-Martin clog up the middle of the conference with 1-1 records in the first two games. 

Eastern Kentucky and a little more surprisingly Tennessee State have found a home at the bottom of the standings early with 0-2 records. 

Tennessee State forward Tia Wooten, who was expected to be one of the conference’s best players this season has not shown the productivity this year that was expected. Wooten averaged 21 points per game last season; this season she is averaging just 12.2 this year on 36 percent shooting. 

Morehead State has enjoyed having the conference’s two leading scorers this season, Aliyah Jeune (19.6 points per game) and Miranda Crockett (18.5 ppg), who have paced the conference on offense this season.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]