MTSU v. UTS Women’s Basketball
By: MTN Sports Reporter
Head coach Rick Insell and his Lady Blue Raiders faced off against out-of conference opponent UT Southern to finish off their preseason.
Tonight's game marked the second outing of the season for the Blue Raiders after their dominant win over Land College last week. As this season opens the Lady Raiders are still defining a new offensive culture as their three leading scorers from last season are not returning.
Coming out to start the first quarter, the Lady Raiders caused havoc on the defensive end, holding the Firehawks to just eight points off of shot attempts in the paint. While the Firehawks were struggling early down low they were also finding open looks all along the three point line, but struggled to make shots from outside, going 1-12 for the entire first half.
This made it easy for Raider post players like Courtney Whitson, who went on to lead her team in rebounding, to dominate inside, totaling five rebounds for the first half, and 13 for the game. The dominance in close for the home team was also felt on the offensive end as the Lady Raiders collected a staggering 24 inside points before halftime.
Going into the break, it was clear to see why the Lady Raiders held a healthy lead of 42-25 as the rebounding battle was numbered at 33-11. A show of strength on the glass crossed with the Firehawks numerous turnovers in the second quarter left the Lady Raiders with a blow out in their sights.
Coming back to the second half, we see the same defensive story played out yet again with the Raiders getting steals at will and relentlessly coming up with boards. The Firehawks allowed 22 points off turnovers alone which all but killed their hopes for any sort of comeback.
The 4th quarter would look similar as the Blue Raiders tacked on to their lead, and closed the game with a final score of 93-52.
After the game Coach Insell commented on how excited he is for the new rotation of freshman Raiders this year.
“I was ready to quit coaching, but the good lord sent me a gift with these freshmen,” said Insell. “They don't always play how I want, but they always work their butts off.”
This team is fresh as it’s built right now, and these young players are excited to lead the program forward. Red shirt sophomore Courtney Whitson spoke highly of her teammate, and leading scorer for the Raiders, Jalynn Gregory after the game.
She’s so humble, she's not gonna brag, but she's such a hard worker,” said rebound leader Courtney Whitson. “She's just like all our freshman.”
The Lady Blue Raiders closed their two game preseason averaging 98 points a game overall. This was a new record in women’s basketball history which marks an exciting start to the 2021-2022 season.