Story by Calvin White / Contributing Writer
FRISCO, TX — A second half surge from the Lady Techsters helped push Louisiana Tech past Middle Tennessee 80-72.
“They had a great second half,” Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Insell said. “They wanted it more than we did in the second half and that’s the bottom line. They outrebounded us. We had seven turnovers and we didn’t shoot the ball good in the second half and didn’t make good decisions and then I thought they changed their defenses enough to give us problems.”
The Lady Raiders jumped out to a 10 point lead at the end of the first quarter, going 8-13 from the floor, including 6-10 from beyond the arc. Dor Sarr accounted for three of those 3-pointers to give her nine first quarter points.
MT then outscored the Lady Techsters 14-11 in the second period to take a 39-26 lead into the halftime break.
Early on it looked like Middle Tennessee was going to cruise to victory, but the second half is where things started to go ice cold for the Lady Raiders. MT shot 7-19 in the third quarter after Louisiana Tech transitioned their defense to a 3-2 zone that is designed to defend teams with good outside shooting.
“We didn’t do a good job passing the ball,” Insell said. “We didn’t do a good job of cutting then when we got open looks we missed some shots that we usually hit and I’m talking about inside. We didn’t do a good job of making decisions with the basketball but it’s not any one person. As good as we played in the first half, we played that bad in the second half.”
Louisiana Tech outscored the Lady Raiders 34-15 in the fourth quarter and 54-33 overall in the second half. Middle Tennessee shot 14-37 in the half while the Lady Techsters shot a remarkable 15-21.
The Lady Raiders finished shooting 27-62 (43%) from the floor, 15-38 (39%) from beyond the arc, and had four players finish in double figures. Dor Sarr finished with 20 points, Courtney Whitson with 17, Kseniya Malashka with 15, and Jalynn Gregory with 10.
Middle Tennessee finishes the season at 23-7 overall and 14-4 in conference play.