November 23, 2011

Blue Raiders steal 74-55 victory from Golden Eagles

Tech hosts Western Carolina Saturday at 7 p.m.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee State stole the latest meeting with Tennessee Tech Wednesday night, 74-55, in this year's game between the in-state rivals in a long-standing women's basketball rivalry.

Tech owned an edge in rebounds, shot 95 percent at the free throw line, and got a double-double from senior guard Tacarra Hayes with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but MTSU took advantage of 33 Golden Eagle turnovers in the 19-point homecourt victory. Exactly half of MTSU's scoring – 37 points – came off turnovers.

Hayes was the lone Golden Eagle to score in double figures on a night when Tech shot 38.1 percent (16-for-42) from the field and 15.4 percent (2-for-15) from long range.  Tech hit 21-for-22 at the free throw line and held a 34-30 advantage on the glass.

Brittany Darling scored eight points, Candace Parson seven, and Molly Heady 6 for Tech (2-3).

Middle Tennessee was led by Ebony Rowe with 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots, while Kortni Jones had 15 points and seven steals for the Blue Raiders (3-2).  MTSU shot 49.1 percent from the field and had 21 steals, helping to overcome 52 percent free throw accuracy.

Tech kept things tight for the first six minutes, trailing just 12-10 after Diamond Henderson banked in a layup with 13:42 to play in the opening half. A 12-2 MTSU run over the next three minutes gave the Blue Raiders a 24-12 lead. MTSU opened the lead to 14 points before Tech fought back, using two free throws by Heady with 1:15 to play in the half to cut the difference to 11 points, 38-27.

The Blue Raiders took a 44-29 margin in the halftime.

Tech scratched its way back to within seven points in the second half, narrowing the lead to 46-39, following a pair of charity tosses by Hayes with 12:37 remaining, but a 9-0 run by the Blue Raiders lifted the home team into a 55-39 advantage with just under 10 minutes to play.

Tech had chances to slice into the lead over the next six minutes but missed on its next six shots. The MTSU lead grew to 26 points, 74-48, before the Golden Eagles netted the last seven points of the game for the final margin.

The Golden Eagles return home to host Western Carolina on Saturday night, with tipoff in Eblen Center set for 7 p.m. The Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center will be open regular business hours Friday, and opens Saturday at 6 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased online at TTUsports.com.