In one of the more exciting games for the Lady Eagles this year, they overcame the powerful duo of Cheyenne Parker and Olivia Jones and sank the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, 70-65 in overtime
The Lady Eagles used double-double efforts from both Tamara Jones and Jerontay Clemons to take down the number 1 team in Conference USA. The Lady Eagles trailed for more than 28 minutes, but battled back after getting Parker into foul trouble.
Parker and Jones were key cogs in the Blue Raiders offense, but the Lady Eagles play some of the toughest defense in the conference. They forced Parker into two early fouls and sat most of the first half.
She came out in the second half and dominated until the Lady Eagles decided to drive right at her. Jerontay Clemons was the key and got Parker her third and fourth fouls, before getting her to foul out in overtime.
Despite an off game, Parker still had a double double and finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
“Cheyenne Parker is an unbelievable player and we felt like we if we didn’t try and go at her early and get her on the bench, that it would be a long night for us and we were able to do that.” Said head coach Joye Lee-McNeils.
However, she wasn’t the only piece taken out by the Lady Eagles. Olivia Jones had one of the worst games of her career and Tamara Jones and Alex Coyne frustrated her all night and held her to just 11 points.
She shot 4-21 from the field and only sank two shots out of 14 from three-point range. The Blue Raiders live and die by the sword with Jones’ scoring. She has scored over thirty points three times and over 20 points, 11 times.
Jones and Parker both had off nights, but it was mainly due to a frantic and pesky Lady Eagle defense. Led by Alex Coyne, the Lady Eagles forced 19 turnovers in the game. Coyne and Tamara Jones had three steals and Brooke Rhodes added a pair.
However, the Lady Eagles turned the ball over themselves 21 times and shot an abysmal 36 percent from the field and 42 percent from the free throw line.
“It was truly an ugly offensive basketball game. It was an unbelievable defensive battle by both teams, McNeils said, “Both teams were just grinding it out offensively and could not make shots.”
“Tonight it was about playing defense and about us making plays when plays counted and you have to say hats off to Tamara Jones and Jerontay Clemons.”
Clemons took over the game late in the second half and had over half her points by driving to the paint and drawing fouls.
She single handedly opened up the scoring for USM and hit a pull-up jumper to tie the game with under a minute left to send it to overtime. However, Clemons remained modest and said it was just their defense opening up their offense.
She finished with 20 points and 10 boards, good enough for a double-double. Tamara Jones was also huge not only defensively, but offensively and added a double double of her own, netting 22 points and snagging 12 rebounds.
The Lady Eagles had huge production from their bench to help spark some life into their offense, something the Blue Raiders severely lacked. Brittanny Dinkins led the way with 13 points, two of those from three-point land.
The Lady Eagles have back-to-back wins over the top two teams in the conference, Western Kentucky and MTSU. They host UAB this Saturday and will hope to avoid a trap game after two emotional wins.
Tipoff is 4 p.m. at Reed Green Coliseum.