From MTSU Athletics
DURHAM, N.C. – Middle Tennessee women’s basketball’s season came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling to the No. 6 seed Colorado 82-60 in Cameron Indoor Stadium on the campus of Duke University on Saturday night.
The Lady Raiders (28-5), struggled to slow down the Buffalo (24-8) attack, getting doubled up the first quarter, 22-11, after a cold start shooting from the floor (4-for-16). MTSU would climb back into the game late the second quarter, cutting the Colorado lead to as few as five points in the second quarter, but a 9-0 run in the final 1:21 of the half from the Buffs left MTSU further behind at the break, 42-28.
MTSU lost Colorado’s shooters in transition as the Buffs sped up the game in the third quarter, setting the net on fire with a 6-for-9 clip beyond the arc in the frame to increase their lead to 26 at the quarter break, making the fourth quarter a formality to end the first game of the night at the Durham Tournament site.
Savannah Wheeler did all she could in her first taste of NCAA action, scoring 15 points at point guard. Kseniya Malashka found success offensively in her final game as a Lady Raider, nailing one of MTSU’s only three pointers of the night while finishing around the rim, ending the night with 13 points. Anastasiia Boldyreva was the only Lady Raider to shoot above 50 percent on the night, finishing her evening with 6-of-8 shooting and leading the team with 16 points.
By the Numbers
43-29: Rebounding advantage for Colorado, who dominated the Lady Raiders on the glass. The Buffaloes converted 12 offensive rebounds into 13 second chance points, while MTSU converted just nine offensive rebounds into six points.
13-for-27: Three-point shots made and attempted for Colorado, the most three pointers the Buffaloes have scored in a game this season. CU entered the game shooting just 34.3 percent from beyond the arc. MTSU, meanwhile, was cold from outside, shooting just 4-for-24 from three.
19 v 17: Points off turnovers of MTSU vs Colorado. Despite turning the Buffaloes over 17 times, MTSU only were able to turn that into 19 points, while Colorado converted eight Lady Raider Turnovers to 17 points.
Thoughts from Head Coach Rick Insell
“I thought that Colorado came out and really really played. I think they’re averaging five threes a game and tonight they made 13 threes. And we played pretty good defense. On our offensive end, they were very aggressive with us, not allowing us to get into our offense. I didn’t say they were fouling now, they were aggressive, they did a good job. Their game plan was excellent, they caused us problems early and knocked down some shots.
“My girls, they didn’t quit. They just kept playing and executing. I was real proud of them, they had a heck of a season. We put them in the fire all year long and they’ve done a good job.”
Player’s Perspective – Savannah Wheeler
“They were aggressive, with the post players, up top, setting screens. All we had to do is try to match their physicality. Credit to them. You know, they did a great job of defending . I thought we had a heck of a year. I’m really proud of this group. Proud that I came here. And just ready to get back to work for next season.”