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Blue Raiders fall to Oregon State in NCAA Tournament

Ebony Rowe inks school-record 26th double-double of season

March 23, 2014 · @MTAthletics

SEATTLE - Three-pointers and stingy defense carried No. 9-seed Oregon State past No. 8-seed Middle Tennessee, 55-36, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at the University of Washington.

The Blue Raiders (29-5) ended a noteworthy season that saw the team collect the school's first regular season and tournament Conference USA titles. The Blue Raiders were held to 23 percent shooting (14-of-61) on the evening. Oregon State (24-10) never trailed in the contest, earning a matchup with No. 1-seed South Carolina on Tuesday evening.

Senior Ebony Rowe led the Blue Raiders with a school-record 26th double-double this season. The Lexington, Ky., native inked 17 points and 11 rebounds to carry Middle Tennessee. Her mark passed Robin Hendrix's previous single-season record of 25 set in 1981. C-USA Freshman of the Year Olivia Jones had 10 points and eight rebounds.

MT was outmanned on the boards, 49-41. The Beavers knocked down 32.7 percent (18-of-55) from the field. OSU hit 10 triples in the contest, with six of those coming from freshman Sydney Wiese. She led OSU with 26 total points, while Deven Hunter had a team-best 11 rebounds.

Oregon State's defense presented problems early on with the Beavers holding MT scoreless in the first five-plus minutes. The Beavers jumped out to an 8-0 lead with 14:48 remaining.

Middle Tennessee battled back to cut the deficit to 13-10 with 7:01 remaining in the opening half. A four minute scoring drought gave Oregon State 10-0 run. The Beavers held a 26-15 lead at the break, marking the first time MT had trailed by double digits at the half since losing to Troy on Feb. 10, 2013.

Statistically, the Raiders shot just 19.4 percent (6-of-31) from the field, while OSU was limited to 26.7 percent (8-of-30). MT was out rebounded 28-to-22 by the Beavers. Ebony Rowe and KeKe Stewart each had six at the half.

MT used a 7-2 run late in the first half and early in the second to trail by just nine. However, Oregon State stretched their edge to 14 at the 11:44 mark. The Beavers kept ahead of the Raiders, holding a 44-28 edge under eight minutes left.

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The Beavers held on in the final minutes, stretching their lead to 19. Middle Tennessee closes out the 2013-14 season with 29 wins, the second most in program history. MT also finished the year with the school's 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and school-record sixth straight.

NOTES

Middle Tennessee had not trailed by double digits in the first half since losing to Troy on Feb. 10, 2013 ... Ebony Rowe surpasses Robin Hendrix for a school record 26 double-doubles in a single season ... MT now owns a 5-17 record in NCAA Tournament games.

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