Three reach double figures as No. 25 Raiders knock off Tulsa
Middle Tennessee collects 17th consecutive victoryFebruary 1, 2014 · @MTAthletics
TULSA, Okla. - No. 25 Middle Tennessee had three players reach double figures, as the Blue Raiders collected a 67-57 victory at Tulsa on Saturday afternoon. The Raiders' 17-game win streak is the fifth longest nationally and is the fourth longest in program history. The streak is also the tied for the second longest in Conference USA history.
The Raiders (18-3, 7-0 Conference USA) took an early 16-6 advantage before stretching their lead to 21 with four minutes left in the first half. Tulsa (10-8, 4-3 C-USA) fought back with a 15-4 run that spanned the end of the first half to early in the second half. TU cut the lead to six with 18 minutes, but that would be the closest the Golden Hurricane would get to upsetting the Blue Raiders.
All-America candidate Ebony Rowe earned her 17th double-double this season and the 70th of her career with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Rowe dished out four assists and two steals in 40 minutes. KeKe Stewart posted double figures for the sixth time this year with 12 points, while grabbing a career-high eight rebounds. Stewart, along with Laken Leonard, paced the Raiders with three steals. Freshman China Dow narrowly missed her career-high of 11 with 10 points. The Louisville native grabbed three rebounds and dished out a pair of assists in the win.
Middle Tennessee opened the game with a 16-6 lead early. Perimeter play was key for the Blue Raiders, who knocked down six triples in the first ten minutes. The Raiders extended the lead to 21 with 4:03 left in the opening period. Tulsa closed out the opening half on a 10-4 run. Seven of those points came from the hands of sophomore guard Kelsee Grovey.
Middle Tennessee finished the first half shooting 32.4 percent (12-of-37) from the field, while Tulsa clipped 34.5 percent (10-of-29). MT controlled the rebounds 24-22, while leading second chance points 7-1. Rowe led MT with 11 points, while Grovey and Mariah Turner had seven points each.
Tulsa started out the second half on a 5-0 run, which was capped by a Grovey trey. That trey by Grovey would put the Golden Hurricane within six, the closest they would reach in the contest.
A pair of free throws by Grovey with four minutes remaining cut Middle Tennessee's deficit to 58-51. MT then used six free throws and a triple down the stretch to preserve the win. Tulsa's Grovey finished the game with a game-high 23 points.
For the game, Middle Tennessee shot 32.1 percent (18-of-56) from the field. The Raiders had just 19 second half field goal attempts compared to 37 in the first. Tulsa shot 42 percent, going 20-of-48 from the field. Behind the arch, the Raiders connected on eight treys for 33 percent. MT won the rebound column, 41-33, while outscoring TU 12-5 in second chance points. The Raiders forced 18 Hurricane turnovers resulting in 27 points.
The Blue Raiders continue the road swing with a visit to Southern Miss on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Hattiesburg.
The Blue Raiders' 17-game win streak is the fourth longest in program history and is tied for currently the nation's fourth longest ... The Blue Raiders have not lost a game when leading at the five minute mark this season ... Middle Tennessee's 37 points in the first half was the most since the Raiders posted 42 against North Texas on Jan. 8 ... Ebony Rowe notched her 70th career double-double and the 17th this season with 18 points and 15 rebounds ... China Dow's 10 points were one shy of her career-high 11 set against SE Louisiana earlier this year ... The Blue Raiders totaled 27 points off Tulsa turnovers and 12 points due to second chance opportunities ... KeKe Stewart had a career-high eight rebounds.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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