Stewart, MT break three-point records in rout of North Texas
Raiders down Mean Green by 44 in first-ever C-USA gameJanuary 8, 2014 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Senior KeKe Stewart put on one of the most prolific outside shooting displays in the history of women's college basketball, coming one shy of the NCAA single-game record for made three-pointers while tying the mark for attempts in an 86-42 win over North Texas in both teams' inaugural Conference USA contest on Wednesday night at the Murphy Center.
Stewart finished the night with a career-high 35 points, while going 11-of-26 from outside the arc. The 11 made threes for Stewart set a new record for both Middle Tennessee and Conference USA. Stewart set the individual conference record and tied the NCAA record with 26 three-point attempts
Freshman Olivia Jones tied a career-high with 21 points, while senior Ebony Rowe tallied her 65th career double-double and 12th of the season, tallying 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jones and Stewart each had seven rebounds for MT, while Jones had five steals and senior Laken Leonard had a team-high five assists.
Middle Tennessee (12-3, 1-0 C-USA)'s 15 made three-pointers tied for the second-most ever by a C-USA team. The Blue Raiders also extended its current game win streak to 11. North Texas (6-8, 0-1 C-USA) committed 24 turnovers resulting in 31 Blue Raider points. Overall MT shot 41.7 percent (30-of-72) from the field, while holding NT to 25.9 percent (15-of-58).
MT gained some separation early, capitalizing on five North Texas turnovers in the first five minutes while Stewart drained a pair of three-pointers en route to an 11-5 advantage at the game's first media timeout.
North Texas would cut the deficit to 11-9 before MT rattled off a 16-0 run, holding the Mean Green scoreless for a stretch of 5:40. Stewart hit two more threes during the spurt, and had 10 three-point attempts through the game's first 13 minutes.
The Blue Raiders would close out the first half outscoring the Mean Green 31-11 over the half's final 7:33. Stewart led MT with 15 points in the opening stanza, all from beyond the arc. The five made three-pointers for Stewart in the first half eclipsed her single-game high of four, accomplished twice this season. The Blue Raider center was 5-of-12 from three in the first half, and 5-of-15 from the floor, all on jump shots.
MT shot 41.9-percent from the floor in the first half, including a 41.2-percent clip from three-point range. The Blue Raiders were aided by 14 Mean Green fouls in the game's first 20 minutes.
The second half began in the most appropriate way, with an inbound pass finding Stewart in the corner for an open look from three. Stewart would go 6-of-14 from three in the second half, scoring 20 points after the intermission. The Blue Raiders would outscore the Mean Green by the same 22-point margin in the second half that they did in the first.
Sophomore Caroline Warden tallied a season-high eight points and career-high three steals in just 12 minutes of play to add to the Blue Raider assault. MT outshot North Texas, 41.7-percent to 25.9-percent for the game. The Blue Raiders outrebounded the Mean Green, 50-47. The Blue Raiders have not trailed in a game by more than seven points during the team's 11-game winning streak.
The Blue Raiders return to action on Saturday at 5 p.m. with a road trip to Ruston, La., to square off with Louisiana Tech.
Ebony Rowe moved into a tie with Krystle Horton for fifth all-time at MT with 112 career starts ... Rowe also tied Kim Webb for the school record with 108 double-figure scoring games ... Rowe inked her 12th double-double this season and the 65th of her career ... KeKe Stewart's 11 triples is a school and conference record during a game ... Stewart set the individual conference record and tied the NCAA record with 26 three-point attempts ... MT's 45 three-point attempts was second in program history and the most in a C-USA league game ... MT has won 11 consecutive games against North Texas and is 16-4 overall against the Mean Green ... Tonight's win marked the first time the Blue Raiders have won an inaugural conference game.
Head Coach Rick Insell
On the win:
I'm really, really proud of our basketball team, proud of our program. We knew this was a history making game for us tonight and them also because it was the first game for both teams in Conference USA. In fifty years down the road, if we're still in Conference USA and it's still around, then we won the first game. This is one of the things we talked about early and I'm proud for our players, but one game doesn't make the season. Last year, we lost to FIU in the first (conference) game of the season. We came back and won the conference. This is a good basketball team that North Texas has got. They're well coached, they're well disciplined. We just happened to knock down shots.
On KeKe Stewart:
One of the reasons we play KeKe, there are several reasons, but one is she has tremendous basketball IQ. Two, she's very, very unselfish. Three, she's a great three-point shooter. She's as good a three-point shooter as I've had. I'm surprised she missed as many as she did to be honest with you. There were about five of them that went in and out.
Senior Center KeKe Stewart
On her performance:
I think I played ok. If they're just going to sit back in the paint and let me shoot then coach is going to have a field day with that and I am too.
Freshman Guard Olivia Jones
On the win:
Coach Insell really emphasized that we're picked to win Conference USA and he said we have big targets on our back. We came out with the mentality to just go hard and prove a point.
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