Photo by David Chamberlain / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders (6-5) fell to the University of Southern California Lady Trojans (9-1) by a score of 72-57 in the opening game of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Holiday Classic on Tuesday night. Despite recovering from an early deficit, Middle Tennessee couldn’t overcome 19 turnovers and a second-half offensive surge from the Lady Trojans in the loss.
Senior guard Abbey Sissom turned in a season-high 22 points on the strength of five three-pointers. Jess Louro and Jadona Davis chipped in offensively as well, as Louro dropped 11 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. Davis was strong off the bench and gave the Lady Raiders a spark with nine points.
Ball control proved to be MTSU’s biggest issue once again, as they turned the ball over to USC 19 times. The Lady Trojans took advantage of these mistakes by scoring 26 points off of the Lady Raiders’ miscues.
After only being up 34-27 at half, USC came out in the third quarter and shot 56 percent from the field to build the lead. They were also lethal from behind the three-point arc, knocking down four long-range shots.
The Lady Raiders never recovered after the third quarter, and it ultimately led to a 15-point loss to the Lady Trojans.
Sissom’s big night not enough in loss
Sissom scored a season-high 22 points, just three points shy of her career-high (25 against UAB last season).
She shot 7-13 from the field and drained five of her nine three-point attempts. She also proved to be durable, as she played all 40 minutes.
Sissom has been a steady contributor throughout this season, and her production will need to continue growing in the absence of Alex Johnson. She finds herself in a feature role with Johnson’s injury, and MTSU will rely on her in order to win Conference USA.
Turnovers become MTSU’s downfall once again
The 19 turnovers were once again a stat that killed Middle Tennessee’s chances to win a big game, as they could never maintain possession of the ball to get back in the lead.
After 19 turnovers in this game, it is clear that this is the Lady Raiders’ biggest issue and it is something that can hurt them in any game against a quality team like the Lady Trojans.
The Lady Raiders will take on Canisius on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in their final game at the UTRGV Holiday Classic.
Follow MTSU Sports Reporter Logan Ward on Twitter at @lward98_ward.
To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.