MT overcomes double-digit deficit to deter Blazers
Raiders extend win streak to 14January 18, 2014 · @MTAthletics
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Middle Tennessee rallied from a 12-point first half deficit to upend the UAB Blazers 61-55 at Bartow Arena on Saturday. The Blue Raiders extended their win streak to 14, which currently is tied for third nationally with Stanford.
The Blue Raiders (15-3, 4-0 C-USA) overcame their largest deficit in this win streak, 12, by closing out the first half on a 10-0 run. UAB (10-7, 2-2 C-USA) opened the second half with a five-point swing, but the Blue Raiders withheld the shock. MT used a 15-8 run down the stretch to remain unbeaten in league play.
Despite being held without a field goal until the 11:40 mark of the second half, Ebony Rowe recorded her 15th double-double this season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Rowe is now 34 points away from becoming the school's all-time scorer.
Senior Laken Leonard scored a season-high 15 points, while pulling in eight rebounds. Her six made field goals tied a career high she set at Tennessee last season. Freshman Olivia Jones once again had a stellar performance with 14 points and nine rebounds. Jones picked up four steals and dished out two assists in 40 minutes. KeKe Stewart and Shanice Cason rounded out the scoring with seven points each.
Middle Tennessee found an early rhythm jumping out to an 11-6 lead. From that stretch, UAB went on a 16-2 burst to take a commanding advantage. Karisma Chapman's basket at 7:39 gave the Blazers their largest lead of 12. MT went on a 10-0 run to close the half. Seven of those points came from the hands of Leonard, who finished the half as the team's leading scorer. Rowe led the Raiders with six rebounds, while Chelsee Black had a team-best seven points.
MT went 9-of-30 from the field for 30 percent, while UAB connected on 12-of-27 for 44.4 percent. Rebounds remained even at 19-19 half.
UAB opened the second half with a five-point run. From there, the Blue Raiders answered with Leonard's layup to give MT a 40-38 lead midway through the second half.
Rowe's layup at 11:40 snapped her streak of not making a field goal. From that point, the two programs changed leads three times. Rowe's layup and plus-one opportunity helped the Blue Raiders take a 47-45 lead that they would never relinquish. UAB cut the deficit to one with five minutes remaining, but MT held strong down the stretch to win the game.
MT finished the game shooting 34.4 percent (21-of-61) from the field, while knocking down 80 percent (16-of-20) from the free throw line. The Raiders won the rebound margin 42-35. MT forced 19 Blazer turnovers, while committing 15 miscues. UAB made 23-of-56 for 41.1 percent, while draining four behind the arch.
The Blue Raiders return home for a two-game stretch. It beings Wednesday when MT hosts UTSA in a 7 p.m. affair at the Murphy Center.
Middle Tennessee trailed by 12 in the first half, its largest deficit during the win streak ... The 14-game win streak is currently tied for third nationally with Stanford ... MT is now 3-4 all-time against UAB ... Ebony Rowe stretched her double figure scoring streak to 24 consecutive games and has reached double-digits in 111 career games ... Rowe has 15 double-doubles this season and 68 in her career ... Rowe is 34 points away from reaching the all-time scoring mark at MT ... Laken Leonard scored a season-best 15 points, while reaching a career-high six made field goals.
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