Photo by Gregory French // Sidelines Archive
Second seed Middle Tennessee (23-8, 16-3 C-USA) battled sixth seed Marshall (21-11, 9-10 C-USA) afternoon in the Conference USA tournament semifinals on Friday afternoon at Birmingham, Alabama’s Legacy Arena.
The Lady Raiders dominated in the paint, en route to a 69-41 win and their 12th conference tournament championship game appearance in the last 14 years.
MT had trouble establishing a post presence, until freshman phenom Alex Johnson took over on both ends of the floor down low.
Marshall had no answer for the Conference USA “Freshman of the Year,” who finished with a game-high 22 points, while grabbing five rebounds, dishing out three assists and totaling three steals.
Marshall jumped out to an early 15-11 lead over MTSU, but the Thundering Herd had no answer for TiAnna Porter and Johnson in the paint.
Porter completed an old-fashioned three-point-play, before a Johnson lay-up secured the lead for the rest of the game.
MTSU senior Brea Edwards was all over the court against the Thundering Herd, corralling 14 rebounds and scoring eight points.
Edwards shot just 1-for-8 from beyond the arc, but she was able to shut down Marshall’s top guard Norrisha Victrum, who averaged 9.3 points per game coming into this matchup.
Ty Petty finished with nine points, five rebounds and six assists, while Abbey Sissom finished with 10 points, two rebounds and four assists.
The Lady Raiders will play fifth seed Old Dominion (17-16, 10-8) on Saturday night in the conference tournament championship game.
These two schools square off for the second time this season, after Old Dominion beat MTSU on their own court 61-58 on Jan. 16.
The Lady Raiders take on the Lady Monarchs for a chance at an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday
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