Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders hosted the Trevecca Nazarene Trojans in an exhibition game on Thursday night and after a sloppy first half by both teams, the Lady Raiders pulled away for a comfortable 88-41 victory.
Both teams suffocated each other defensively, which led to 16 turnovers for each team by halftime.
Lady Raider head coach Rick Insell was disappointed with his team’s ball-handling and said he knows that they can’t play like that against better competition.
“We weren’t thinking in the first half,” Insell said. “We just didn’t come out with the right mindset, none of us did.”
Middle Tennessee forward Alex Johnson did not have the first half she wanted. She picked up three fouls and was forced to sit most of the second quarter.
With Johnson on the bench, the Lady Raiders needed other players to step up. Abbey Sissom and Gabby Lyon did so and gave the team a spark when needed most.
Sissom scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds in the opening half, while Lyon added seven points and four rebounds of her own.
The Trojans made a late push to cut the lead, but the Lady Raiders persisted and took a 35-21 lead into the locker room.
Johnson and her teammates received some tough criticism from Insell, and they knew that they needed to play better.
“At halftime, (Insell) chewed us out,” Johnson said. “We have to play our game, regardless of who we are playing.”
At the start of the second half, it was clear that the Lady Raiders were coming out to play their game. Johnson opened up with some of her signature post moves and helped put the game out of reach.
Johnson knew that she was going to have to play smarter in the second half, due to her foul trouble in the first.
“I was frustrated in the first half,” Johnson said. “So in the second half, I just had to be solid and not throw my body into them because I knew they were going to flop.”
She came out and set the tone with eight quick points and ended the game with 24 points.
For most of the second half, LaSonja Edwards stole the show. Edwards came out of the locker room with only three points but she finished the game with 17.
MTSU separated themselves from the Trojans in the fourth and cruised to a 88-41 win. The victory gave was their second exhibition win of the week.
Although his team played well, Insell knows that they still have room to improve ahead of their game against Vanderbilt.
“I’m not happy, offensive-wise,” Insell said. “We know our offense, but we just haven’t been executing well. We’ll start working on some chemistry and running our offense these next three or four days.”
The Lady Raiders will play their first regular season game at Vanderbilt next Friday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m. Their home-opener will be Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Murphy Center.
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