MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The MTSU women’s basketball team made it five wins in a row with a dominating 68-32 victory over Kennesaw State on Thursday afternoon at the Murphy Center.
It was the Lady Raiders first home win of the season after losses to SEC schools, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The game was played in front of over 6,000 Murfreesboro City School students, and an overall attendance of 10,028, which was the fourth largest in program history.
It was the first game for the Lady Raiders since a Dec. 4 win at Austin Peay. Since then, the team had been hard at work in the classroom with final exams until today. Early on, MTSU jumped out to a 12-0 run, which included six points by senior forward Ebony Rowe and a steal and layup by junior guard and former Siegel star Shanice Cason.
“I think everyone did a great job,” MTSU senior forward Lauren March said. “I was very proud of everyone's play today.”
The Lady Owls from the Atlantic Sun Conference closed the gap to 15-8 after a basket from its star junior guard Kristina Wells midway through the first half. However, the rest of the half belonged to the Lady Raiders as the defense held KSU to only four points to lead at the break, 34-12.
MTSU held KSU to only 25 percent shooting from the field during the opening half. While the Lady Raiders shot 50 percent during the same period. The second half was the same story as the MTSU held KSU to only 25 percent shooting during the entire game, while forcing 34 turnovers.
“In our scouting report, we talked about how they average 20 turnovers a game,” March said. “We knew we had to pressure the ball and be aggressive with them.”
Rowe finished the game with 16 points, while three other players added eight apiece. Every Lady Raider played in the win, except senior center KeKe Stewart, who was out with an injury and did not play.
Coming into the game, while the Lady Raiders had been red hot during the winning streak, including three wins at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida last month, while the Lady Owls had not won a game since Nov. 11 against Tennessee State. It was the sixth loss in a row for KSU.
“Definitely going back to basics,” Rowe said. “Our game in really inside out, and this really showed it. Our perimeter has been really attacking, and most of all defense. We have been playing team defense, and everyone has been stepping up. Especially those games in Florida, and it just made us a better basketball team.”
Now, the Lady Raiders head back to Florida for a two-game road trip next week.
Their first opponent will be UCF on Monday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m., and then a couple of days later it plays at USF. MTSU returns to the Murphy Center on Saturday, Dec. 21, against South Dakota State at 1 p.m.