MT’s 3-point barrage drowns the Lady Firehawks
By: Chris Sakacsi
MTN Sports Reporter
Exhibition finale features seven double-digit scoring Lady Raiders
Murfreesboro, Tennessee- Tuesday night marked the Lady Raiders exhibition finale before the regular season as they went at it against UT Southern. The Lady Firehawks had no answer for MT’s lights out shooting display which led to a 114-43 victory in the Glass House. Of the seven Lady Raiders in double-digit points, Savannah Wheeler had the game-high with 20 to go along with her four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Throughout the first half, MT ramped up the ball pressure as they started trapping the Lady Firehawks at half court immediately. With a total of 16 turnovers forced in two quarters of play, the Lady Raiders found themselves in transition on the regular, scoring 29 points off those turnovers. With an emphatic 64-18 lead at halftime, MT set out to finish the final game before they hit the road for official games.
Force-feeding starting center Anastasiia Boldyreva the ball early to get her going offensively, the Lady Raiders used her size to their advantage. Not one player on UT Southern was over six-feet tall and for the six-foot-six center, that meant it was a game she could put her stamp on. Having a paint presence like Boldyreva opens opportunities for shooters on the wing, Boldyreva explained. “Most of the time, I know they’ll be double teaming me, so I need to see the court and look for the shooters we have,” she said. Boldyreva would end the contest with ten points, 2 rebounds, four blocks, and three steals in 15 minutes.
Thanks in part to Boldyreva, said shooters went 15-33 from distance, shooting 45% as a team. Both Alexis Whittington and Jalynn Gregory were tied with the most 3-pointers made, adding in four a piece.
Courtney Blakely, who had been battling a leg injury for the past three weeks, returned to the rotation for some quality backup guard minutes. When asked about her leg, Blakely said, “It’s a little sore, but when my adrenalines going, I can’t feel a thing.” In 22 minutes, she notched in ten points on four-of-seven shooting, two rebounds, and two assists.
Head coach Rick Insell spoke on the depth of this team after giving everyone some reps the past two games. “What helps is that we’re able to play a lot of people,” coach Insell said. “Compared to the past where I played six or seven, I can play ten or eleven which should help at the end of the year. Come tournament time last year, I felt that we were sluggish at time so hopefully that won’t be the case this year.” He also talked about how he felt like the team had reached its goals throughout exhibition play. “I wanted to score points and play a lot of people,” he said. “I wanted our chemistry and our defensive adjustments to get better and I feel like we did that. Now we have to focus on our scouting report tomorrow before we play Mercer.” The Lady Raiders hit the road for their season opener against Mercer on Monday, Novembers 7th at 6 pm.
Stats courtesy of stats.statbroadcast.com
Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Hungerford-Athletic Communications