Exhibition season closes with Blue Raider domination

MT scores in triple digits

November 9, 2010 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee used a 17-0 run after giving up the first basket and never looked back in running away with a 115-43 victory over Alabama-Huntsville in exhibition women's basketball action Tuesday evening inside the Murphy Center. The exhibition was the second for the Blue Raiders this year.

Middle Tennessee won the opening tip, but as sophomore Kortni Jones received the pass, Lady Charger Jasmine Hammon stepped in front for a steal and had an uncontested layup at the other end to give UAH a 2-0 lead just nine seconds into the game. However, the Blue Raiders did not let missed opportunities on the offensive end during the next two possessions keep them down, as they rattled off 17 consecutive points for a 17-2 lead over the next five minutes.

Sophomore Icelyn Elie and freshman Ebony Rowe were key contributors during the spurt, accounting for all but three points, which were scored on a triple by junior Tina Stewart. Janie Graves halted the run with a jumper at 14:57 and Alabama-Huntsville closed the margin to as close as 11, 21-10, on a Lakrisha White 3-pointer with 12:25 remaining.

The next 18 points would fall in Middle Tennessee's favor, as four different players chipped in buckets, including treys by sophomore Jamila Ajanaku at 9:56 and freshman Jordyn Luffman 51 seconds later, helping the Blue Raiders push the margin to 29, 39-10, with 8:23 left in the half.

Graves hit the back-end of two foul shots coming out of a media timeout with 7:30 to play to trim the deficit to 27, 41-14, but again, MT used a long scoring run to extend the deficit. Senior Anne Marie Lanning buried a 3-pointer less than three minutes later, at 4:42, to widen the gap to 43, 57-14, following a Luffman steal.

Before the half was over, Middle Tennessee built a first period-high 51-point cushion, 69-18, as sophomore Kortni Jones stole a Jordan Beggs pass and hit her shot with 1:01 to go. Freshman KeKe Stewart added her third field goal on as many attempts to close the stanza and send the Blue Raiders into the break ahead 50, 71-21.

Middle Tennessee would have broken four school records and tied another in the first half had it been a regular-season game. The Blue Raiders would have smashed marks for points (71), field goals made (31), field goals attempted (53) and steals (17), while tying the standard for assists (19).

The second half did not get much better for the Lady Chargers, as Ajanaku put in a missed jumper by Elie as just over four minutes elapsed, increasing the margin to 59, 84-25, with 15:48 to go. Freshman Laken Leonard drained the first of her two 3-pointers on the night at the 12:15 mark to make it a 66-point difference, 95-29. Leonard's second triple a few minutes later sent Middle Tennessee into triple digits, a barrier it topped a national-best seven times a year ago.

Freshman Stephanie Myers provided the jumper to give the Blue Raiders a game-high 74-point lead, 109-35, with just 3:28 to go. Alabama-Huntsville then scored eight of the next 10 points, capped by another White trey at 1:07, to pull within 68 before freshman Janay Brinkley put the final stamp on the night with a layup with 30 seconds left.

Rowe finished with game-highs of 22 points and eight rebounds. She was joined in double-figure scoring by Ajanaku (18), Elie (16) and Luffman (14). Elie and Myers each hauled in seven rebounds, while Ajanaku had three of the team's eight blocked shots.

Jones and Ajanaku shared team honors with seven assists, while Jones swiped a game-high seven steals, one short of the Lady Charger total.

Hammon paced Alabama-Huntsville with 13 points and five rebounds. Beggs matched her effort on the glass, but the Lady Chargers could not overcome 44 turnovers in the setback.

Middle Tennessee will open its regular season at 1 p.m. Sunday when it plays host to Big East foe USF inside the Murphy Center. Tickets are available by calling 1-888-YES-MTSU.

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