December 28, 2008

Three-pointers lift Middle Tennessee to victory over Golden Eagles

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The 3-point shot proved to be the biggest difference as Middle Tennessee outscored Tennessee Tech 30-3 from outside the arc, providing the cushion in a 101-66 non-conference victory for the Blue Raiders Sunday afternoon in Eblen Center.

The Golden Eagles (3-8) shot a blistering 53 percent for the game, but managed just one 3-pointer. The Blue Raider (9-4) dropped in 10 from long range.

Tech will regroup quickly to host the University of Memphis Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Junior Vivian Nwosu was 7-for-8 from the floor and led Tech in scoring with a career-high 15 points. Meagan Lyons also reached double figures, scoring 12 points while hitting 5-for-5 from the field. Blair Bowens and Jasmine White each scored nine, Allison Price had eight and Kystral Stirrup added seven as the Golden Eagles got balanced scoring.

"Vivian is understanding more and more what we want and what we need," said Golden Eagle head coach Amy Brown. "She had a great game, and she was aggressive on both ends of the floor."

Alysha Clark had 25 points and nine rebounds to pace the Blue Raiders, who put four players in double figures. Jackie Pickel had 23, Brandi Brown scored 14 and Chelsia Lymon added 12. MTSU shot 56 percent for the game, including 10-for-25 from 3-point range. The Blue Raiders were 19-for-23 at the free throw line.

Along with the Blue Raiders' 3-pointers, another difference in the contest was 28 turnovers by the Golden Eagles as MTSU posted 15 steals.

"We've got to take better care of the basketball," Brown said. "That's just too many turnovers. We shot the ball well -- I'll take 53 percent any game -- but we missed 15 foul shots and that says alot about our concentration."

The Golden Eagles shot 62.5 percent in the first half, and held numerous leads in a see-saw 20 minutes of action. The Blue Raiders broke a 30-30 tie with a 3-pointer by Pickel at the 6:57 mark and held the lead into the intermission. The Golden Eagles trimmed the difference to four points, 44-40, with 1:16 to play, when Lyons banked in a jumper. MTSU's lead at halftime was five points, 47-42.

Pickel scored 18 of her 23 in the second half, thanks to 4-for-6 accuracy from long range, and the Blue Raiders took their seven-point lead to 19 points by opening the half with a 16-2 run. The final 35-point margin was the largest lead of the game.

In addition to the career-high in scoring by Nwosu, Price tied her career-best for assists with seven. Freshman Simone Rutledge also tied her career-high numbers of four points and three rebounds.

The ticket office in Eblen Center will open Tuesday at 6 p.m., with tipoff against the Lady Tigers set for 7 p.m.