Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
Uncharacteristic, out of sorts, and baffled. These are just a few words to describe the play of the Lady Raiders Sunday afternoon in Bowling Green against Western Kentucky. From tip-off to final buzzer, the team appeared defeated, leaving town with their first C-USA loss to the tune of 66-51.
From the start, the Lady Raiders failed to put the ball in the hoop. It wasn’t until a Gabby Lyon layup 4:30 minutes into the game that finally got MTSU on the board. But by that point, WKU already had already built a substantial lead.
Abbey Sissom knocked down a three to help make the score 17-9 after the first quarter. This would be as close as the margin would get as the got seemed to get out of hand from here.
The Lady Raiders seemed flustered on offense all afternoon, coughing up seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes of play. By halftime, the team had 14 turnovers.
“The 14 turnovers in the first half for us was probably the most we’ve had in I don’t know when.”
“I thought Tashia Brown early on just took us totally out of the game offensively. For them, with her length, that was it more than anything.
The 6-foot forward Brown finished 13 points and two steals.
MTSU trailed 15-32 at halftime, but things would only escalade more as they game progressed.
While the Lady Raiders continued to show fight, they couldn’t keep from making mistakes. Whether it was a bad pass or off the foot and out of bounds, the Lady Raiders struggled get on a run.
On the day, every Lady Raider who played over three minutes committed one or more turnovers, with five players committing two or more. The total by the end of the game ran to 21 turnovers.
“They came out, they executed, they took us out of our offense early, they got some deflections and they were just the better team,” said Insell. “You gotta tip your hat off to them, they did a good job, a real good job.”
The team also committed 22 total fouls compared to WKU’s 14. Johnson, Rebecca Reuter, and Gabby Lyon each ended the game with four fouls while three more players ended with three fouls.
“The officials didn’t beat us, good gracious alive,” said Insell. “Granted, we didn’t communicate but it was very obvious that [the officials] didn’t communicate either. But that didn’t have anything to do with us being down. Western Kentucky just came out here and flat put it on us.”
The Lady Raiders shot 18-of-38 on the day, a season low for number of FGs attempted.
“One game, you gotta go back out and go to work, that’s all you can do,” said Insell. “I’ve been here before. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this deep or this far behind but we’ve been here before.”
“We we’re just playing them a little bit too cool. You know we’re number one in the conference. You know we’re walking it down, this and that. That’s not us, that’s not how we play.”
One of the only positive takeaways on the day was the will to keep fighting. The team outscored the Lady Toppers 22-9 in the final quarter. However, WKU wasn’t showing much intensity late in the game, giving MTSU a chance to run their offense.
Sophomore forward Alex Johnson with 14 points and five rebounds. She was followed closely by Ty Petty with 11 and Abbey Sissom with 10 points.
WKU was lead by senior guard Kendall Noble with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
The Lady Raiders are back Thursday night at 6:30 against FIU in the Murphy Center.