Lady Raiders Lose Another Close One, 54-53

December 17, 2001 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Paula Penttila's three-pointer at the buzzer fell short, giving the visiting Kansas State Wildcats a 54-53 victory over Middle Tennessee Monday evening at the Murphy Center.

The Lady Raiders (5-4) held a two-point edge until freshman Laurie Koehn nailed a three-pointer for the visitors with 36 seconds remaining in the contest, giving KSU a 54-53 edge. Middle Tennessee got a shot from senior Jamie Thomatis that was partially blocked, and Kendra Wecker grabbed the rebound for the Wildcats.

Kristin Rethman was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one with 15 seconds left, giving the Lady Raiders one last chance. The ball ended up in Penttila's hands for a decent look at a trifecta, but the shot fell short, Middle Tennessee's fourth loss of the season by a combined 12 points.

The Lady Raiders held a 28-24 lead at halftime but watched the visitors open the half with a 17-4 run, including seven points by Wecker and five from Koehn. The Wildcats (9-1) opened the lead to as many as 10 points with 11:01 remaining in the contest.

But the Lady Raiders mounted a 16-4 run over the next eight minutes, led by six points from Patrice Holmes and four by Keisha McClinic. A pair of free throws by McClinic knotted the game at 51 with 3:42 left, and Thomatis gave Middle Tennessee the lead with two more foul shots just 28 seconds later.

But the Lady Raiders went 0-for-6 from the floor the rest of the way and shot just 29 percent from the floor for the game, their lowest of the season.

Thomatis led the Lady Raiders with 15 points and 10 rebounds, her third double-double of the season and 12th of her career. McClinic added 12 and Holmes 11 to go along with six rebounds. Koehn led the Wildcats in double-digits with 17 points, while Nicole Ohlde had 14 and Wecker added 12. All three Wildcats tied for the team lead with six rebounds.

Thomatis scored 11 of her 15 points in the first half to lead the Lady Raiders to a four-point lead at the break. Middle Tennessee committed just six turnovers in the first 20 minutes, helping to build the lead despite shooting only 31 percent from the field in the half.

The Lady Raiders play at home against Houston on Thursday at 7 p.m. before traveling to Cincinnati to take on Xavier Sunday in their final game before Christmas and the final contest before opening conference play.

THOMATIS RECORDS NO. 12: Senior Jamie Thomatis registered her 12th career double-double tonight and her third in the last five games with 15 points and 10 boards against Kansas State.

ANOTHER CLOSE CALL: The Lady Raiders' record dropped to 5-4 on the season with another close setback. Middle Tennessee's four losses have been by a combined score of 12 points and two of the games were decided in overtime.

HOLMES BACK IN DOUBLE DIGITS: Freshman Patrice Holmes, who started her career with two straight double figure scoring games, finally registered number three in the loss to Kansas State Monday night. Holmes went six consecutive games without hitting double digits before tallying 12 points against the Lady Wildcats.

THIS -N' THAT: Three of Middle Tennessee's four losses this season have come against teams from the SEC, Conference USA and Big 12 - Jennifer Justice tallied a personal-best four steals against KSU - The Lady Raiders are now 4-1 when leading at the half this season - Jamie Thomatis made her 47th straight start tonight versus KSU - Jamie Thomatis has now scored in double figures 22 straight games and 52 of the last 53 - Joanne Aluka has started 61 of her last 65 Lady Raider games - Jamie Thomatis has now led the Lady Raiders in scoring 64 times over her career - Middle Tennessee is now 0-8 all-time against teams from the Big 12 - The Lady Raiders shot just 29.0 percent from the field, which was their lowest percentage since making only 17.7 percent of their shots against UT Martin on January 5, 1998.

MT Head Coach Stephany Smith
"I am really proud of the team's effort tonight. I know it is frustrating for the team, coaches, and fans wondering when we are going to finish a game. We could have played a perfect game tonight and lost by 20, because Kansas State is a great basketball team who will be ranked in the top 25 before the season is over."

"I thought we fought hard tonight. We will win our share of games, and I feel we are on the verge of turning these close games to our favor. Overall, I think we disrupted Kansas State tonight. They didn't shoot their usual 69 percent because we got in their face."

"We took a little while to settle into the game in the second half, with Kansas State switching from a zone to man-to-man. Down but 10, in the second half, I was really proud we kept our composure and stayed in the game. I am disappointed we had four great looks at the end of the game to win, and didn't convert."

MT Forward Jamie Thomatis
"I was proud of the team's effort to keep fighting. We were looking inside for the last shot, because we wanted to dump the ball on the weak side. The team isn't too down over the loss, because we know these close games will help us when we get into Sun Belt Conference play."

Kansas State Head Coach Deb Patterson
"I was impressed with Middle Tennessee tonight. They were in this game to the very end because they outplayed us. Middle Tennessee did a good job playing to their strengths by getting dribble penetration and putting their post players on the line."

"The three pointer, which gave us the lead near the end of the game, by Laurie Koehn was a big time shot by a big time player. Her step back three was the difference in the game and gave us a boost on a night we really struggled."

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