Conference notebook: Tennessee Tech still leads OVC women’s basketball at 6-0

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Conference notebook: Tennessee Tech still leads OVC women’s basketball at 6-0

Grace Lennox dribbles the ball between her legs to try to get around a defender during Eastern’s 73-60 loss to Austin Peay Saturday in Lantz Arena.

Grace Lennox dribbles the ball between her legs to try to get around a defender during Eastern’s 73-60 loss to Austin Peay Saturday in Lantz Arena.

Jordan Boyer

Grace Lennox dribbles the ball between her legs to try to get around a defender during Eastern’s 73-60 loss to Austin Peay Saturday in Lantz Arena.

Jordan Boyer

Jordan Boyer

Grace Lennox dribbles the ball between her legs to try to get around a defender during Eastern’s 73-60 loss to Austin Peay Saturday in Lantz Arena.

JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

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Preseason polls do not really matter. If there was one consistent theme coming from the coaches and players of the Ohio Valley Conference at OVC media day all the way back in October it was that mantra: preseason polls do not matter. 

There has never been a team more inclined to prove that mantra true this season than Tennessee Tech, which remains the league’s only undefeated team through six games, despite being selected to finish 9th in the preseason poll.

The Golden Eagles improved to 6-0 over the weekend with a 66-49 win over Jacksonville State, in yet another showing where Tennessee Tech demonstrated that what anyone says about you in the preseason might as well just be thrown away when everyone steps onto the court. 

Tennessee Tech may not have appeared completely out of the dark in the conference. After the team picked up some impressive non-conference wins over teams like Wichita State and Middle Tennessee, coaches like Eastern’s Matt Bollant started to raise suspicions that the Golden Eagles could be a problem once conference play rolled around. 

“I saw the teams they were playing, they played some quality teams and were beating them,” Bollant said. “So I knew that they were definitely much, much improved. They went to Jacksonville State and beat them soundly at Jacksonville State, so obviously they are showing they can do it on the road as well.”

Guard Jordan Brock continues to play at a high level for Tennessee Tech. The sophomore scored 20 points in the win over Jacksonville State, making it eight games in a row for her with double-digit points. 

There are currently ten teams in the conference tied for the eight conference tournament spots, which makes every weekend in the conference all the more important for every team in the conference. This week that was particularly true for Morehead State and Austin Peay, both of which picked up key wins that elevated them in the conference standings. 

Morehead State, benefiting from four players scoring in double-figures, picked up a big win over Tennessee-Martin 85-75 on Saturday. The win moved Morehead State to 4-2 in the OVC and bumped Tennessee-Martin down to the same record. 

The two teams are now tied in third place in the conference along with Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Morehead State however now holds the ever-important tie breaker over Tennessee-Martin. 

Austin Peay also slid up the standings after beating Eastern 70-63 on Saturday. The Governors are now 3-3 and, in a tie, Southeast Missouri for sixth place. 

Three teams, Eastern, Jacksonville State and Murray State are all tied for the 7th and 8th conference spots with 2-4 records. 

Jacksonville State beat Eastern this season and holds the tie breaker over the Panthers for the 7th spot currently. Eastern beat Murray State last Thursday, so if the conference tournament started today, Eastern would be in as the final seed.

But the conference tournament does not start today, in fact there are still 12 games remaining in conference play, which makes games for the teams tied for spots very important moving forward. 

Eastern was already stressing that importance before last week’s games against Murray State and Austin Peay. After his team’s loss to Austin Peay, Bollant went over with his team what they needed to do the rest of the season to make the conference tournament. 

If Bollant’s discussion with his team is any indication to the mood around the league, it is that wins against anybody right now are at a premium, especially against teams that you are tied with in the conference. 

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