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Blue Raiders down UAH in exhibition opener

Rowe and Cason reach double figures

October 29, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee women's basketball team overcame an early defensive battle to power past UAH, 77-60, in the Blue Raiders' first exhibition game of the 2013-14 campaign on Tuesday night at Murphy Center.

Senior Ebony Rowe led MT with a double-double of 24 points and 18 rebounds, while junior Shanice Cason added 14 points and five steals. The Raiders shot 43.5 percent during the game, as opposed to 27.0 for the Lady Chargers. MT outrebounded UAH, 56-45. The Raiders grabbed 24 rebounds off the offensive glass.

The game began as an even battle before MT opened up a 23-14 lead on a three-pointer from freshman Ty Petty. An 8-2 run from the Lady Chargers pulled UAH within three at 25-22.

Following a Coach Insell timeout, the Raiders rattled off an 11-0 run to open up a 14-point advantage at 36-22. UAH would battle back to single digits before the half, as MT took a 40-31 lead into the locker room.

Rowe led the Blue Raiders at the half with 11 points and seven rebounds. Cason added seven points and four steals. MT shot 43.8 percent from the floor in the opening half, while forcing 14 UAH turnovers and holding the Lady Chargers to 26.5 percent shooting.

The Raiders stormed out of the gate in the second half, going on a 20-7 run to lead 61-38. It was a comfortable cushion MT would hold the rest of the way, with the two teams playing fairly evenly throughout the final few minutes of the game for the final 17-point decision.

There were 13 different MT players to score in the game, with eight scoring four or more points. Rowe's double-double of 24 points and 18 rebounds included nine off the offensive glass, while shooting 10-for-14 from the floor.

The Blue Raiders return to action for their second and final exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 1, when MT hosts Freed-Hardeman at 6:30 p.m at Murphy Center.

NOTES: All eligible players saw action in Tuesday's game ... Middle Tennessee received six votes in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll that was released earlier in the day ... 1,758 attended the Blue Raiders exhibition opener.

QUOTES

Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell

Opening Statement:

We are a typical team. There were some good points, but times in the game we look decent and other times we looked like there were times that we didn't know the basketball had air in it. Early on, we had some players that maybe were playing to the crowd and were not playing to our game then we broke out of it. Our young players did a better job.

On what the team needs to work on:

We did a very poor job of shooting the ball, 3-of-20 from three-point tonight and a lot of those were open looks. We are a lot better basketball team than that shooting the ball. It's a negative on the stat sheet, but could be a positive if we start putting the ball in the whole from three point.

Junior Guard Shanice Cason

On the first exhibition game:

I'm excited to be back, playing other players then the practice players. It just feels good to be back.

On the team's chemistry:

Our chemistry, we need to try and build more chemistry. Also rebounding and helping Ebony (Rowe) out on the floor.

Senior Forward Ebony Rowe

On her performance:

If someone looked at my stats I know they would say I had a good game, but it's not. My free throws were atrocious, which they have been great in practice. It got in my head a little bit. We made some silly mistakes, but it was great being out there. It was our first time being out there together, so I was really proud of my team. We got the win, what we wanted to do but we are just going to move on from there.

Freshman Guard Olivia Jones

On her first college game:
I was a little nervous, but I tried to think that everyone messes up, and just went out there positive and tried not to get tired.

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