The Middle Tennessee women (26-5) continued their march toward the NCAA Tournament with a hard fought 63-53 win over Florida International and a championship game berth vs the University of Arkansas Little Rock at the Sun Belt basketball tournament Monday afternoon.
MTSU was led by Kortni Jones with 20 points and a terrific defensive performance on FIU guard
Jerica Coley, who was held to 0 points the second half. Ebony Rowes had a sensational game with 19 points, 2 steals and a game high 12 rebounds. Icelyn Elie added 14 points.
The Lady Raiders trailed by 10 early but fought back to take a five-point lead at the half and eventually win by 10. MTSU was 14-of-21 from the line.
The Lady Blue were badly out rebounded but turned it over fewer times and had five steals. FIU did not get a free throw attempt as MTSU committed only six fouls. The Lady Raiders are now 18-0 versus the Sun Belt.
The Championship game will be at 1p.m. Tuesday versus the Trojans of UALR (19-12) and can be heard on WMOT 89.5FM.
The MTSU Lady Raiders extended their 25-5 season with a 65-57 win in Sun Belt Tournament play over rival Western Kentucky in Hot Springs, Ark. on Sunday night.
The blue and white were a miserable 11-of-22 from the line and were out rebounded but turned it over only 14 times to Western's 27.
Lady Raider Korti Jones tied a career high with 25 points while Ebony Rowe had 12 with nine rebounds. Laken Leonard had nine points and Chanice Cason had eight and ran the floor brilliantly. The Lady Raiders led by 13 at the half.
Western finished at 9-21.
Next up for MTSU is a Monday game at noon vs FIU, who beat Denver 67-59.
The MTSU men (26-6) were not near as fortunate as they dropped a game to Arkansas State 64-61.
The Raiders hit 50 percent (11 of 22) of their free throws and missed their final five in a row. The tournament loss probably ended the Raiders chances to go to the NCAA but they will possibly host a NIT game. MTSU placed four players in double figures: Raymond Cintron had 15, Laron Dendy had 14, Marcus Knight had 13, Shawn Jones had 12.
An MTSU crowd of more than 400 watched both games.