Middle Tennessee tops century mark in non-conference finale
Blue Raiders finish non-conference slate at 8-4December 28, 2008 · Athletic Communications
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - A 16-5 Middle Tennessee run to begin the second half broke open a close halftime score and the Blue Raiders used an over 50 percent field goal shooting effort in both halves to garner a 101-66 victory at Tennessee Tech inside the Eblen Center in Cookeville, Tenn., Sunday afternoon.
The host Golden Eagles hung tough through the first 20 minutes with the largest MT advantage being at eight, 44-36, with 2:10 remaining in the frame. Junior Jackie Pickel erupted in the second half, netting 18 of her 23 points, scoring five 3-pointers and hitting 9-of-16 field goals overall on her way to a career day. She added three assists and four steals while playing a game-best 36 minutes.
Middle Tennessee (9-4) maintained its hot second half shooting, converting 19-of-33 (57.6 percent) after a 17-of-31 (54.8 percent) opening frame to finish at 36-of-64 (56.3 percent). Tennessee Tech hit 62.5 percent of its shots in the first half to trail only 47-42 at the intermission before being held to 24 points on 6-of-17 field goals in the second session.
Junior Alysha Clark took control of the game early, registering 10 of the team's first 15 points despite the Golden Eagles taking an 8-2 edge through the first two-and-a-half minutes. Blair Bowens hit a jumper at 9:52 of the first half to give Tennessee Tech (3-8) its final lead, 22-21. Brandi Brown then connected on a pair of layups and Emily Queen added one of her own for a 6-0 MT spurt.
The Golden Eagles hung tough, however, and responded to tie the game at 30 apiece on a Tacarra Hayes layup with 6:57 left.
After Tennessee Tech cut the second half deficit to 19, 75-56, another Pickel trey started an 8-0 run which included five straight points from Dana Garrett for an 83-56 MT advantage. The Blue Raiders then rotated Shytoria Davis and Molly McFadden in the post during the final 7:49. Davis finished with four points, while McFadden grabbed a pair of rebounds.
Clark led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-10 field goals and 7-of-7 free throws. She also hauled in a game-best nine boards. Brown contributed 14 points and Chelsia Lymon chipped in 12 markers for the Blue Raiders.
Vivian Nwosu topped the Golden Eagles with 15 points and Meagan Lyons poured in 12. The pair finished 12-of-13 from the field.
Middle Tennessee surpassed the 100-point barrier for the 34th time in its history and increased its record to 27-7 in such games. The last time the Lady Raiders went into triple digits was a 104-69 triumph over Western Carolina in the opening round of the 2008 Postseason WNIT.
The Blue Raiders will return to action at 2 p.m. Wednesday when they travel to Denton, Texas, for a Sun Belt Conference contest against North Texas.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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