Lady Raiders fight, but fall to Virginia in season opener

Photo by Darian Lindsay / Sidelines Archive

The Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders traveled to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in their 2016 season opener. The Blue Raiders faced a tall task and fell just short of the Cavs, 63-51.

MT opened the game with an abundance of fouls, committing four in the first minutes of play. The Blue Raider offense pulled out in front quickly and maintained a slight lead over the Cavs at the end of the first quarter.

The Blue Raiders offense stumbled into the second 10 minutes and the Cavs took advantage of the opportunity. MT only managed four points in seven minutes of play into the second. Virginia surged into the lead behind Dominque Toussaint and Jocelyn Willoughby’s burst of offense before the half.

The Blue Raiders fell deeper into the hole coming out of the break. They lost their rhythm, pace, and tempo offensively and couldn’t penetrate the Cavs stifling defense. With 8:17 left in the third quarter, Virginia nearly held a 20 point lead, 39-21. The Blue Raiders tried to spark a comeback attempt but was quickly put to rest with two consecutive buckets by Toussaint.

Virginia relied on their defense for the remainder of the game and managed the clock well. The Blue Raiders outscored the Cavs 14-10 in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too large to overcome. The Blue Raiders shot rapid three-pointers before the game’s final buzzer but none of the shots were fell consistently. Virginia coasted to victory over Middle Tennessee, 63-51.

The Blue Raiders shot a dismal 34.5% from the field and 18.2% from behind the arc. Ty Petty and Alex Johnson led the team in points. Petty tallied 11 points and Johnson scored 13. Gabby Lyon led the team in rebounds with six and Katie Collier led in assists with three.

Virginia had three players cross double-digits in points. Toussaint dropped 16 points while Willoughby ended with 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds as well. Breyana Mason also contributed 12 points to the Cavs victory.

The Blue Raiders will look to rebound in their home opener of the season against another tough opponent, the Louisville Cardinals. Tip-off for the game is on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

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