Lady Raiders stifle ODU, MTSU sweeps C-USA Championships

The Lady Raiders were able to complete the Conference USA sweep by beating Old Dominion 70-54 on Saturday night, after the men’s team defeated the same opponent 55-53 earlier Saturday afternoon.

“To be a coach and to stand on the sideline and watch this little group I have play, sometimes I get caught up in watching them play instead of coaching them. They’re such a joy to watch,” head coach Rick Insell said.

Ty Petty looked locked in all night, and she absolutely dominated to begin the game, starting out on pace for her first career triple-double.

Petty finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, and she set an MTSU record for most assists in a season with 186, finishing the night with 188 (with 7 assists) assists on the year.

“I just left it all on the court,” Petty said. “It was the championship game, so I wanted to come out and be the point guard that coach has been wanting me to be, taking shots that I usually turn down. I saw the openings, so I started taking them.”

Both teams scored on their first two possessions, Middle Tennessee scored on four of their first five possessions. The Lady Raiders seemed poised throughout this game, as if it was not the conference championship game.

“We came out there as a team, we played together as a team, we all played team defense and we got this win. It was a huge team win for us. We all were invested into our scouting, and I think it was a great team win overall,” Brea Edwards said.

The Blue Raiders post players were able to have their way in the paint for most of the game.

Conference USA Freshman of the Year Alex Johnson looked like a focal point of the Lady Monarch’s defensive game plan from the beginning, but she was a non-factor due to foul trouble. Johnson finished the game with just eight points and two rebounds.

“I was definitely nervous coming into the game, but like Ty said, coach told us that this was just another game. If we play our best and play our team defense, we couldn’t be stopped,” Johnson said.

Edwards was held scoreless in the first half, but she broke through in the second half, posting a double-double with 16 points on 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc and 10 rebounds.

“My focus wasn’t on scoring as much [tonight] because I knew that ODU was great on the boards, and my focus was defense,” Edwards said. “I knew my shots were going to eventually open up with our post doing work down low like they did in the second half.”

Abbey Sissom the bulk of her 11 points in the second half, shooting 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and grabbing two rebounds.

MTSU was able to control the glass, out rebounding and out scoring ODU 43-40 and 24-22, respectively.

The Lady Monarchs were able to cut the lead down to seven early on in the third quarter, but Petty and company were too much for ODU.

Petty was named MVP of the C-USA Tournament following the title-game victory.

The Lady Raiders are pegged as the No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and they are projected to face No. 4 Florida State in the Bridgeport side of the bracket.

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