By Rickey Fuquay, Jr.//Contributing Writer
MURFREESBORO – Olivia Jones and the Blue Raiders (17-6, 11-2 C-USA) used an all-around effort to cruise to their fifth straight home win, routing North Texas (3-20, 2-11 C-USA), 85-59.
The Blue Raiders jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before sophomore forward Eboniey Jeter put North Texas on the board, trimming the deficit to five points with 15:44 left in the first half. Middle Tennessee extended their lead with a trio of scoring runs to take control of the game 45-24 with 1:56 left in the first half. They would eventually take a 48-24 lead at the half thanks to a China Dow three-pointer.
The Blue Raiders went on a 12-5 run coming out of the locker room 60-29 advantage with 15:02 left in the second half. They would lead by as many as 32 points in the second half. North Texas scored a quick six points to cut the deficit to 26 points. Middle Tennessee answered right back with a 9-5 scoring run of their own to take a 76-46 lead with 3:42 left in the game. A 13-9 run by North Texas at the end of the half was not enough to stop the Blue Raiders 85-59 victory.
Sophomore guard Olivia Jones led the team with 23 points along with seven rebounds and four steals on 9-of-19 shooting from the field as well as 3-of-9 from beyond the arc.
“I think I could have did more on defense, but overall I think I’m getting back into the groove of my game,” Jones said.
Also in double figures was freshman forward Gabby Lyon, who experienced a career day, tallying 15 points of her own. Senior forward Cheyenne Parker recorded 14 points along with nine rebounds, two assists, three blocks and three steals on 5-of-8 shooting from the field.
North Texas was led by junior forward Acheil Tac, who tallied 14 points along with seven rebound on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Terra Ellison recorded 13 points along with four rebounds.
Once again the inside performance by the Blue Raiders played a critical factor, as they tallied 40 points in the paint, while also holding a 44 to 29 rebound advantage.
Middle Tennessee will look to continue their winning streak, as they travel to Huntington, West Virginia for a Thursday morning matchup with the Marshall Thundering Herd. Tip-off is set for 10 a.m. CST.
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