Raiders slow down Roadrunners for 15th straight win
Rowe within seven of MT's all-time scoring recordJanuary 22, 2014 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Senior Ebony Rowe moved within seven points of Kim Webb's program scoring record, tallying a double-double of 26 points and 16 rebounds, as the Blue Raiders overcame a sluggish offensive start to defeat UTSA 60-41 for Middle Tennessee's 15th-straight victory on Wednesday night at Murphy Center.
Rowe's double-double was her 16th of the season and 69th of her Blue Raider career. She needs just seven points to tie and eight to break Webb's (2,148) all-time scoring mark. Senior Laken Leonard and freshman Olivia Jones were second for the Blue Raiders with nine points each. Jones had a team-high five assists to go along with seven rebounds, while senior Lauren March tied a season-high with seven boards.
The majority of the first half was a defensive enthusiast's delight, with the Blue Raiders holding a 17-12 advantage at the final media timeout of the frame. MT would put things together in the final 3:15, going on a seven-point run to send the teams to the locker room with a 24-12 Middle Tennessee lead.
The 12 first-half points allowed by MT are tied for the fewest this season, as the Blue Raiders held Kennesaw State to 12 points on Dec. 12. MT shot 33.3-percent in the first 20 minutes, as opposed to 22.2-percent for the Roadrunners. The Blue Raiders beat UTSA on the boards 22-19 in the half.
Rowe would score all but eight of her points in the second half, scoring six in just 2:44 to open the stanza. Her layup would give MT a 33-17 cushion, which at the time was the largest of the night.
UTSA would battle back via a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to 36-27 before the Blue Raiders rattled off seven straight points to bring the lead back to 16 with 7:39 to play. The Roadrunners would not cut the game any closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
The second half was a different story offensively, as MT outshot UTSA by a margin of 50-percent to 37-percent. Senior McKenzie Adams led UTSA with 11 points. The 41 points for the Roadrunners were a season-low.
The Blue Raiders return to action on Saturday when they host Old Dominion at 4:00 p.m. inside the Murphy Center. The game will be broadcast locally on CW 58.
Ebony Rowe's 26 points points moved her to eight away from becoming the all-time scorer ... Rowe's double-double was the 16th this season and the 69 of her career ... It's her 10th consecutive double-double ... Rowe's 116th start is tied for second all-time with Kim Webb ... MT's 15-game win streak is tied for fifth all-time with a record set Jan. 12, 1986 to March 5, 1987.
Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell
Well it wasn't pretty, but we'll take it. We've got to figure out a few things offensively but we will. We've got the people to do it. So we've just got to go back and look at some film. We've got to hit free throws. Free throws are something you can get in there and work on and you have to be able to knock those things down. But overall we held a good team to 41 points. That's all you ever hear anytime I come in here is 'defense, defense, defense', but I am proud of them. They do a good job.
On the first half:
I thought we just missed too many little one-footers. We missed some people that were open with some passes. There's some things that we can correct that's going to help us become a better basketball team. We've got to do a better job of executing our offense. When Ebony (Rowe) has that window to enter the ball, we have to enter the basketball and we haven't been doing that...so that's something we'll come back on and we'll start work on tomorrow.
Senior Guard Laken Leonard
On the win:
I just think this team is a special team. I said it last game, but we always find a way to win. We might not make it look pretty, but we always find a way to win, so I love this team for that. And I just want to keep it going.
Senior Forward Ebony Rowe
On the win:
Every night a team comes out here and they try to throw a different defensive strategy at our team. (They say) 'How are we going to stop Middle Tennessee? What are we going to do different that other teams haven't done?' and so I credit my team. Yes, we need to work on our offense and it may take me and my teammates a while to get going. When you're getting a team's best every night you kind of have to feel it out and see what they're doing and learn how we need to execute against that. I think that's what we did the second half.
On all-time Middle Tennessee scoring record:
It's just really exciting. It's just an exciting time. The atmosphere here is just so great right now. My teammates are so excited, the fans are so excited, which makes me excited. And I'm just excited that hopefully this happens here (at Murphy Center) in front of our fans. Like I said, this isn't going to be for me, this is going to be for our team. This is going to be what our seniors leave. They were here with me four years and they did this just as much as I did. So it's going to be our legacy that we leave here at MTSU.
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