Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders (18-9, 13-3) dominated from start to finish in Ty Petty’s final home game as a Raider, beating the UAB Blazers (13-14, 6-10) by a final of 87-56.
Middle opened the game with solid shooting from three, as Abbey Sissom made her first three looks from downtown to help the Lady Raiders to a 24-14 lead after the first quarter.
The Raider defense took over early in the second quarter, holding the Blazers without a basket for over three and a half minutes. The offense capitalized on the defense, using four points from Alex Johnson and a three from Kyla Allison to push the lead to 31-16.
Middle used two more threes by Sissom to run their lead as high as 22 at one point and walked into halftime with a 44-24 lead. Sissom led the way with 15 points and made all five of her attempts from three-point land. Johnson added 12 points and her own and Petty led all with eight assists.
Sissom continued her hot shooting in the third quarter, as she knocked down her sixth, seventh and eighth threes of the game to help push the lead to 30 points at one point. The defense continued to hound the Blazers on their end of the court, holding them to just three makes from the floor in the first five minutes of the quarter.
With a free throw at the 3:55 mark, Sissom set a new career-high in points with 22. When it was all said and done, the Lady Raiders held a 69-41 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Lady Raider defense continued suffocating the Blazers, holding them without a field goal for the final 4:42 of the game and Middle Tennessee won by a final score of 87-56.
Sissom catches fire, records career-high 25
In a game where all the focus was on Ty Petty, Abbey Sissom stole the spotlight with her career-high 25 points on eight makes from three-point range. While she played as well as she did, Sissom was quick to credit her team with her success after the game.
“I have to give credit to Ty and all of [my teammates] who got me the looks by driving it in,” Sissom said. “It wasn’t just me on my own.”
Head coach Rick Insell was not surprised by her breakout game because he knew that she was capable of playing like this the whole season.
“She’s a great shooter, she’s got a tremendous basketball I.Q.,” Insell said. “She’s got everything it takes to do that every night.”
Petty dishes 12 assists, plays as a facilitator
While she only scored nine points, what really stuck out about Petty’s day was that she recorded a season-high 12 assists. The senior guard from Riverdale has never been one for individual statistics because winning is all she cares about.
“Even though it was my senior day, my main focus was to win,” Petty said. “We got two more games and then we head into the conference [tournament]…I was just focusing on this game and then enjoying everything after.”
Murfreesboro shows out with support on Ty Petty Day
With this being the last time she would be in a Blue Raider uniform, the city of Murfreesboro showed up to support the hometown player in her final home game. When asked if the day met her expectations, all Petty could do was smile.
“I couldn’t ask for a better one,” Petty said. “I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Insell believed that the day was just as sad as it was special, knowing that it was their last game in Murfreesboro with Petty. One thing he did appreciate was how the community showed up to support her.
“She’s just a superstar…she’s done that since she’s been here,” Insell said of his senior point guard. “Did you see the crowd we had today here….you’ve got a local girl that stayed home and look at the reception she’s getting out there.
— Rusty Ellis (@RustyEllis13) February 27, 2017
The Lady Raiders will hit the road for their final two games of the season, beginning on Thursday when they take on the FIU Panthers; tip-off is set for 6 p.m.