MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee narrowly defeated the Old Dominion women's basketball team, 74-70 following its fourth quarter rally Saturday night in Murfreesboro. ODU (8-10, 5-9 C-USA) split the weekend series with the C-USA East division leader.
"I told my team that I am still very proud of them. They competed, it was just a matter of us being not as disciplined as we needed to be in the most important moments of the game," said ODU head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones. "Defensively, the performance that we gave tonight matched what we gave last night. For Middle Tennessee, they took the same amount of threes, but they connected on three more than they did yesterday."
The Monarchs won the first period, opening the game with an Amari Young bucket. It was not long after that Middle Tennessee (13-6, 11-3 C-USA) tied up the game, 2-2. Nearly two minutes later, the game saw its first lead change, in favor of the Lady Raiders. The Monarchs responded with six-straight points, opening up to a five-point lead over Middle Tennessee. Just 20 seconds later, Middle Tennessee drilled a three-point field goal to close the deficit to two. Aziah Hudson responded for ODU, sinking a triple to bring the game back to a five-point ODU advantage with 4:13 left in the opening frame. ODU and Middle Tennessee traded buckets but at the 2:31 mark, Adams drained a trey and then a layup to take a seven-point lead, the largest of the game at that point. Middle Tennessee ended the quarter with four unanswered points, but the Monarchs led, 18-15, after the first quarter.
ODU opened the second quarter on an offensive tear, scoring back-to-back field goals to lead, 23-15. Middle Tennessee responded with a layup but ODU quickly answered with a Victoria Morris steal and an Ajah Wayne layup to lead by eight. The Lady Raiders closed the deficit to three with a three-pointer and a layup, but ODU finished out the second quarter on an 8-5 run to take a 34-27 advantage into the locker room. Additionally, ODU out-rebounded the Lady Raiders, 27-19 in the first 20 minutes of action.
The two teams played even in the third quarter, each turning in 22 points. Following a Lady Raider layup to open the third quarter, ODU jumped back ahead by seven with 8:47 left. In the next two minutes of action, Middle Tennessee tied up the ballgame, 36-36. A Maggie Robinson triple put ODU back on top, 39-36. However a 6-0 Lady Raider scoring run put Middle Tennessee ahead, 42-39 with 4:41 left on the clock. ODU quickly bounced back, ending the third quarter with a 17-7 run, heading into the fourth quarter with a 56-49 advantage.
Morris poured in two free throws in the third quarter, which moved her up on the ODU all-time scoring list, surpassing Jasmine Parker and Kim McQuarter in the 24th spot. The senior from Cincinnati, Ohio now has 1,281 career points. She led the team in scoring on Saturday night, recording 17 points.
Less than 10 seconds into the fourth quarter, Middle Tennessee logged a bucket, closing in on the deficit. Morris downed a wide-open three-point field goal to put ODU ahead by seven points. The Lady Raiders sparked an offensive run, taking a 63-62 lead following an ODU turnover at the 5:11 mark. On the next possession, Morris again connected from beyond the arc, recording her third and final triple of the contest. The Lady Raiders quickly knotted up the game, 65-65 with 3:57 to go in the fourth quarter. Wayne drained a pair of free throws and Young knocked in one to go up by two with 2:57 on the game clock. The Lady Raiders went on to knock in back-to-back three pointers en route to a 8-2 scoring run to close out the game and edge ODU, 74-70. Middle Tennessee connected on 9 of its 10 shots from the field in the fourth quarter, outscoring ODU, 25-14.
"I told the team to not get too high over the wins and don't get too low over the losses. We are just going to continue to grow from this. We're going to have grace, even in our defeats, but the loss does not define who we are because we lost in this moment," said Milton-Jones
ODU held the nation's leading scorer, Anastasia Hayes to just 18 points, her first game all season recording less than 20 points.
Overall, ODU shot 42 percent from the field, going 27-of-64 and notched eight three-point field goals. Wayne logged her fifth double-double of the season, pouring in 14 points and 15 rebounds. For the game, ODU out-rebounded Middle Tennessee for the second-straight game, 46-33.