Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders (2-0) won their home-opener Tuesday night against Tennessee Tech by a final score of 58-44. This marks 13 straight wins over the Golden Eagles for Middle Tennessee under coach Rick Insell.
The two teams struggled early on as Middle Tennessee only held a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The problems for both teams continued into the second stanza, as the Lady Raiders held the Golden Eagles to only nine points in the quarter.
Middle Tennessee was only able to score 14 points on the TTU defense. By the time the halftime horn sounded, the Lady Raiders were up 28-16.
Rebecca Reuter put together a career night for the Lady Raiders, beginning with 15 first-half points to lead all scorers.
The beginning of the second half saw the Golden Eagles put together a solid 17-5 run to tie the game at 33 with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter. The Lady Raiders managed to score the final four points of the quarter to take a 37-33 lead into the all-encompassing fourth quarter.
After Tech scored the first points of the quarter, Middle Tennessee put together a quick 7-0 run to push the lead back to nine points, and it was all MTSU from there. TTU never cut the lead down to fewer than six points, and the Lady Raiders earned their second win of the season by a final score of 58-44.
Reuter took on the scoring load by scoring 23 points and six rebounds. LaSonja Edwards added 10 points of her own as the only other Lady Raider to score in double figures.
While the loss of Johnson is a big one, the team knew they couldn’t hang their heads and feel sorry for themselves.
“It’s a big hit on our team,” Reuter said. “She does a lot of scoring for our team so me, (Lyon) and everyone really need to pick up the scoring.”
Star guards struggle in win
While Reuter had the best game of her career, a couple of the Lady Raider starters had some of their worst performances.
Abbey Sissom and Jess Louro combined to shoot 2-13 from the floor, with both of the makes coming from three-point land.
The team’s non-conference schedule is no joke, so these two will have to pick up some of the slack for Middle Tennessee to be successful.
Turnovers hurt Lady Raiders
The Lady Raiders may have won, but they had a total of 23 turnovers, a number that is far too much for a team picked to win its conference.
Notably, the point guards struggled as Zeynep Canbaz and Katie Collier were virtually non-existent. Canbaz only saw two minutes of playing time after starting the opener, while Collier only contributed two points in 24 minutes. Collier also turned the ball over five times, something that is unacceptable for her head coach.
“You can’t do that with the Louisvilles and Georgia Techs (in the league),” said Coach Rick Insell. “You might get away with it (sometimes), but we are very fortunate we got away with it tonight.”
The guards know that with tougher teams on the horizon, they will need to perform better when their number is called if they want to be successful.
“We came in with a very highly motivated mindset to Vanderbilt,” Sissom said. “Coach preached all week to be in that mindset, and I don’t think we did that tonight.”
The Lady Raiders will be back in action Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. when they take on Lipscomb inside Murphy Center.