By Connor Ulrey//Contributing Writer
Middle Tennessee’s women (5-4) looked like the team we thought they could be Saturday afternoon as they outmatched Central Florida (4-7) in every category of the game winning 79-57.
The Blue Raiders were glad to be back home for the holidays and gave the 3,925 fans at the Murphy Center a nice gift before the break.
Middle was led by its two pillars for success as of late, Olivia Jones and Cheyenne Parker. Jones scored 21 points, adding eight rebounds and three steals to her stat line. Parker also added 21 points to the tally, along with three rebounds and two blocks on the day.
The Blue Raiders went on a run in the first half, stretching their lead to 21-9 before the under 12 media timeout. Jones and Parker would keep up the pressure, and the Blue Raiders would push the lead to as large as 37-18 in the first half. However, the Knights would fight back, cutting the halftime lead to 37-24.
Middle Tennessee had other plans as they continued to pressure Central Florida in the second half, forcing 29 turnovers in the game and amassing 15 steals on the day.
The Blue Raiders held key advantages Saturday afternoon, and those were pivotal to their success. Middle Tennessee out rebounded Central Florida 41-36, held an 18-4 assist advantage, and made 22 free throws with 18 coming in the second half.
China Dow and Brea Edwards scored in double figures for the Blue Raiders as well. Dow added 11 points and seven boards, while Edwards scored 12 points and had three steals.
Defensively, Middle Tennessee fought off every run that the Knights could muster, continuing to push the lead and keep their foot on the gas. The win was their fourth at home this season.
The Blue Raiders have a week off before they hit the road again, this time for a four game roadtrip beginning on Dec. 28.
Middle Tennessee will face Tennessee Tech in Cookeville on Dec. 28, the first non-conference game for the Blue Raider women, at 2 p.m.
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To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email firstname.lastname@example.org.