Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders (8-5) earned a big win against the Kentucky Lady Wildcats on Thursday night by a final score of 62-57. Thanks to a big night from senior Abbey Sissom, Middle Tennessee finished nonconference play with its second win over an SEC team this season.
It wasn’t a great start for the Lady Raiders, though, as they shot 6-21 from the field and turned the ball over ten times in the first half. In that time, Kentucky built a 12-point lead and looked as if they might run away with the game. The Lady Wildcats were led by Maci Morris’ seven first-half points.
For the game, Morris led the visitors with 13 points.
In the second half, MTSU came back to life and made the comeback they needed to win the game. The Lady Raiders shot 37.8 percent from the field (17-45) and made seven second-half three-point shots. Sissom and junior Jess Louro made two of those three in back-to-back fashion to help clinch the 62-57 victory over the Wildcats.
The defense was also phenomenal, as they held Kentucky to just 28.5 percent shooting from the field en route to the win.
Sissom continues hot play in victory
Sissom led the Lady Raiders with 22 points, two rebounds and three assists in the game. She shot 6-11 from the field and 5-7 from three to lead the second-half surge on offense. Sissom was also great from the free throw line, as she made five of her six attempts.
This is Sissom’s third straight game with at least 20 points. Her games against USC and Canisius started this hot streak, and with her current pace, she could easily have a career-year in her final season for Middle Tennessee.
“I’m a shooter and (head coach Rick Insell) tells me all the time that shooters have to knock down shots,” Sissom said. “Our offense wasn’t flowing like it normally does, but I knew it would come.”
Reuter, Savage add spark to second-half fire
Senior forward Rebecca Reuter contributed a solid night as well, as she added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists in the winning effort.
With star Alex Johnson still out with injury, the forward corps have had to increase their production in the past few weeks. While it has been a challenge, they’ve proven with games like this one that they are more than up to the task.
“It’s been a lot for (Gabby Lyon) and I, because we’ve really been trying picking the slack up,” Reuter said. “When we don’t do our job, it really effects the team.”
Sophomore forward Charity Savage had a great second half for the Lady Raiders, scoring eight points and grabbing two rebounds in five minutes of play.
The Lady Blue Raiders will begin conference play against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Thursday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.
For more Lady Raider Basketball stories, follow David Janes on Twitter at @David_Janes20