Lady Raiders Remain Undefeated at Home Following Win over Florida Atlantic
By: Jordan Binkley
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee's women's basketball dominates Flordia Atlantic 72-49 thanks to an array of 3-pointers at the Murphy Center Saturday afternoon.
MTSU came out hot in the first quarter, scoring 7-for-9 from three and finishing the game with 13.
The Lady Raider's defense also stepped up, forcing 14 turnovers for the game. The only time FAU led the game was the first time they scored.
"I thought the shooting of the first quarter was pretty good; the second quarter, we ended up outscoring them 28-6, and we played good defense that second quarter," head coach Rick Insell said. "That was the difference in the ballgame."
Forward Courtney Whitson came up just shy of getting the third triple-double in program history. Whitson finished the game with 13 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Although Whitson did not get a triple-double, her eight assists were a new career-high.
"When Courtney is having a night, I know it," Alexis Whittington said. "She is a beast in the paint."
Murfreesboro native Alexis Whittington led the team in scoring with 17 points, including a stellar five 3-pointers. Her spectacular 3-point barrage set a new season-high. Whittington also finished the game with seven rebounds and three steals.
"If Lex sees that first shot going in, you better watch out," said Whitson.
Kseniya Malashka also played a crucial role in the Lady Raiders winning. Coming off the bench, Malashka scored 16 points, including an additional six defensive rebounds and a steal. Malashka's strong defensive presence is one of the many reasons MTSU limited FAU to only 49 points.
Once the game started, Whittington got the ball rolling in the first quarter by going 3-for-3 from behind the arc. As the period was coming to a close, Dor Saar hit a 3-point buzzer-beater to move the score 28-14, heading into the second quarter.
More of the same happened in the second quarter as the Lady Raiders held the Owls to six points in the period. FAU finished the quarter 3-13 shooting with a 23.1% field goal percentage. Offensive-wise, this time Whitson was the one dishing out 3-pointers, ending the quarter 3-for-3.
However, FAU seemed to make halftime adjustments heading into the third quarter as they came out roaring to an 8-2 run. FAU also forced the Lady Raiders into going 4-17 from the field and 0-6 from beyond the arc. MTSU's deficiency in points led to FAU outscoring them 17-8 in the third.
The Lady Raiders bounced back in the fourth quarter, outscoring FAU 16-12 even after missing 10 consecutive 3-pointers earlier in the game.
With four games left in the regular season, the remainder of Lady Raider's schedule will be against C-USA opponents. Winning these next four games is critical for MTSU to gain the No. 1 seed in the C-USA tournament.
The Lady Raider's next matchup is Thursday, February 24, at 5 p.m. in Huntington, WV, against the Marshall Thundering Herd (13-11).