Middle Tennessee received strong all-around performances from a host of players to capture a hard-fought 72-63 win against Marshall here Thursday.
The Lady Raiders (9-6, 4-0) won their fifth straight overall and remained perfect in C-USA action behind the superlative play of several standouts. Middle Tennessee’s win, coupled with Charlotte’s loss at Louisiana Tech, enabled the Lady Raiders to take over the top spot in the league race.
Ty Petty was a stat sheet stuffer with a game-high 26 points on the strength of seven 3-pointers. She also added five rebounds, five assists and no turnovers.
Petty stepped up big when the game was on the line, scoring 11 of her 26 in the fourth quarter.
Petty’s sterling play was complimented by the exemplary performance of Alex Johnson, who poured in 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field to go with her team-high seven rebounds. Abbey Sissom was also exceptional with 14 points, a career-high nine assists against just one turnover and four rebounds.
Gabby Lyon was also solid with seven points and six rebounds. Jess Louro was also strong all around with five rebounds, four steals and three assists
“We knew this would be a tough challenge against a tough Marshall team,” Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell said. “Coach (Matt) Daniel does a good job and his team played well. We were in another battle late and our young ladies found a way to get it done. There were so many big shots and big plays, especially in the fourth quarter.”
One of those big plays came at the end of the third quarter when freshman Charity Savage came up with an offensive rebound and putback just as the horn sounded to provide Middle Tennessee with a 51-49 advantage that would not relinquish.
The momentum of the play seemed to carry into the fourth quarter as Middle Tennessee maintained its slim advantage throughout the final stanza. The lead was 61-59 with 6:10 remaining but the Lady Raiders outscored Marshall 11-4 down the stretch. Petty scored eight of the 11 down the stretch, and Sissom knocked down a big 3-pointer with 3:11 remaining that pushed the lead to nine.
Middle Tennessee will return to action when it travels to WKU Sunday. Tipoff is 2 p.m.