MT uses dominant second half to topple TTU for 10th straight win
Rowe and Cason tally double digits on ThursdayJanuary 2, 2014 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Senior Ebony Rowe scored a game-high 28 points and added 14 rebounds, leading the Middle Tennessee women's basketball team to its 10th straight win in an 84-53 victory over Tennessee Tech on Thursday night at the Murphy Center.
Middle Tennessee held a nine point lead at halftime before outscoring TTU (4-10) 48-26 in the second stanza to close out the non-conference season with an 11-3 mark. The Raiders shot 47.5 percent (28-of-59) from the field, holding TTU to 38.9 percent (21-of-54) shooting. TTU was out-rebounded 48-to-27 in the loss.
Rowe made 10-of-12 from the field for 83.3 percent on the evening. The Lexington Ky., product finished the day with a season-high five assists, while snatching two assists. The double-double was Rowe's 11th this season and the 64th of her career. She was one of two Blue Raiders in double-figures, joining Shanice Cason, who tallied 13 to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Senior Keke Stewart added eight points, while senior Laken Leonard and freshman Olivia Jones each had seven. Diamond Henderson led Tennessee Tech with 21 points, marking her seventh game of the year with 20 or more points.
Caroline Warden, who tallied a season-high five points after entering the game three-plus minutes in. The teams traded shots through the third media timeout of the half, with the Blue Raiders holding a 17-13 advantage.
The Blue Raiders turned up the pressure out of the stoppage, rattling off an 8-0 run to extend the cushion to 25-13, holding the Golden Eagles scoreless for a stretch of 4:22. A half-court heave from freshman China Dow to senior Lauren March in transition made it 29-17 in favor of the Blue Raiders, prompting a Tennessee Tech timeout at the 4:29 mark of the opening half.
The Golden Eagles would cut into the deficit before halftime, narrowing the score to 36-27 heading to the locker room. Rowe recorded 16 of the Blue Raiders' 36 points in the first half, adding six rebounds and three assists. Warden tallied five points in the first 20 minutes of play, while Janay Brinkley and Leonard each added four.
MT went on an 11-0 run over the first 2:40 of the second half to open up a 47-27 lead and never looked back. The Blue Raiders would control the second half shooting and on the glass, shooting 53.3-percent from the floor while out-rebounding the Golden Eagles, 25-12, over the final 20 minutes.
For the game, the Blue Raiders controlled the boards, outrebounding the Golden Eagles, 48-27. Rowe led MT with 14 rebounds, with four others - Jones (7), Dow (6), Cason (5) and Stewart (5) - all helping out on the glass.
The Blue Raiders return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 8, hosting North Texas at 7 p.m. in both programs' inaugural Conference USA game.
Prior to the game Ebony Rowe was presented with her career 2,000 point ball ... The Blue Raider victory ties the all-time series with Tennessee Tech at 38-38 ... Head Coach Rick Insell moves his all-time mark against the Golden Eagles to a perfect 9-0 in the win ... Rowe's 28 points were one shy of her season-high, set Dec. 4 at Austin Peay ... Rowe moved into third all-time with 436 career made free throws, passing Alysha Clark (429) ... Caroline Warden hit a season-high five rebounds ... Mt. Juliet's Caya Williams made her collegiate debut in the second half ... Ebony Rowe has 11 double-doubles this season and 64 in her career.
Head Coach Rick Insell
On the team's play:
"We're attacking the basket better than any team we've ever had. We had them one-and-one in the first three minutes of the second half. We're going in, attacking the basket, getting fouls and they're adding up. That's what we're doing different than the other teams that I've had."
Senior Ebony Rowe
On the victory:
"I think it was a really good win for us. Tennessee Tech always brings their best game against us. They really look at us as their rival, so we know we couldn't take this game for granted. I'm really proud of our team. We really stepped up in the second half."
On the play in the first half:
"They basically came out attacking. We weren't playing like ourselves and we weren't playing to potential. Coach really kicked us in gear there."
Senior Shanice Cason
On her performance on Thursday:
"[Coach Insell] knows the kind of player I am and what I'm capable of. I knew I had to step it up in the second half because my team needed me to. I was able to get in the lane and to create for my teammates as well."
On the team's play:
"We know what we're capable of. We stop ourselves sometimes. When we go out, and continue to play hard, it helps us get momentum."
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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