Tigerettes win fifth consecutive game
TUSKEGEE, Ala. – Nnenna Eze and Tequila Martin combined to lead the Tigerettes to a pair of hard-fought SIAC victories at the James Center that extended their winning streak to a season-high five consecutive games.
Eze averaged 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds, and Martin averaged 10.0 points and 7.0 rebounds as the Tigerettes defeated Claflin 71-67 on Feb. 8 and Benedict 61-56 on Feb. 10.
The victories improved the Tigerettes’ record to 14-7 overall and 12-5 in the SIAC. They are tied with Miles for third place in the conference with five games remaining and well positioned to earn a first-round bye in the SIAC Tournament. They are 1½ games behind first place Albany State and a half game behind second place Fort Valley State. The Tigerettes are 11-3 since Jan. 1 and are 9-1 in their last 10 games.
Martin was clutch shooter at the free throw line for the Tigerettes in their victory against Claflin. The preseason All-SIAC pick made five of six foul shots in the final 1:13 as the Tigerettes held on for the win. Martin finished the game with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigerettes led by 10 points in the first half and by 11 twice in the second half. Martin’s jumper with 12.55 left in the game gave the Tigerettes a 50-39 lead. Claflin then went on a 10-2 run and got back into the game, trailing 52-49 with 9:30. The Tigerettes’ only points during that span came on a pair of free throws by Martin. Claflin cut the lead to a point, 67-66. That set the stage for Martin to seal the game from the foul line, where she made her last four attempts.
The Tigerettes dominated the game on the interior. They had a 45-34 rebounding edge with 18 offensive boards, and they scored 32 points in the paint. In the end, however, it was the Tigerettes’ free throw shooting that spelled the difference. They were 24-for-32 from the foul line – their second-highest number of makes and attempts in a game this season – and shot 75%. The Tigerettes, who shoot 66% from the foul line for the season, made 81% (17 of 21) of their free throws in the second half. Claflin was 18-for-26 for the game.
The Tigerettes were able to grind out a victory against Benedict, thanks to their defense. They held Benedict to 34% from the field (21-for-62) and had a 41-34 rebounding edge. Neither team led by more than six points during the game, which featured eight ties and 10 lead changes.
The Tigerettes went ahead for good, 51-50, on Eze’s jumper with 5:03 left. Eze, the Tigerettes’ leading scorer and rebounder for the season at 11.6 points and 7.3 boards a game, had a game-high 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigerettes won despite committing 25 turnovers. Their transition defense prevented Benedict from capitalizing on the miscues. The Lady Tigers scored 17 points off turnovers, compared to 14 off 17 turnovers for the Tigerettes. Benedict only had four fast break points as well.
The Tigerettes will travel to Jackson, Tenn., on Thursday to face the Lady Dragons of Lane College
The Tigerettes’ ability to get to the free throw line was again a key factor. They attempted 22 foul shots and made 17 for 77:%.
Benedict was 9-for-17 (53%) on free throws.