Blue Raiders post 70-60 victory at Arizona
Jo Jo Freeman
TUCSON, Ariz. - Amber Holt scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Latoya Barclay came off the bench and provided a big spark with seven points and three assists in Middle Tennessee's 70-60 victory over Arizona Sunday at McKale Center.
Holt netted 19 of her 27 in the second half and Barclay was all over the floor, including in the middle of a huge 7-0 run in the middle of the second half that opened the Middle Tennessee advantage from two points to nine. Barclay hit a 3-pointer in the corner before Holt had a bucket underneath. Barclay then got a deflection and a steal and dribbled in to take a mid-range jumper off the glass for a 53-44 lead with 7:43 remaining.
The Blue Raiders battled against the much bigger Wildcats and were outrebounded by just one, 28-27, but Middle Tennessee hit the offensive glass, getting 14 boards, including two from Brandi Brown to start the second half and big ones by Starr Orr and Barclay in the final minute to seal the victory.
Johnna Abney was the only other Blue Raider in double figures, hitting a trio of 3-pointers, including one from at least eight feet from behind the arc. It was a total team effort, as Brandi Brown added eight points, Orr had six and Anne Marie Lanning scored five.
The first half was a seesaw affair, with six ties and six lead changes, and a late flurry by the Blue Raiders gave the visitors a 32-30 edge at the break. Middle Tennessee had great opportunities in the opening 20 minutes but shot just 34 percent from the field, while Arizona made 69 percent from the floor.
But that number was deceiving, as the Wildcats also had 14 turnovers and the Blue Raiders were whistled for nine fouls in the half. UA either hit a bucket, was fouled or turned the ball over on almost every possession before intermission.
Middle Tennessee started hot, thanks to a driving layup from Chelsia Lymon, a 3-pointer by Brown and a turnaround jumper in the lane from Holt for an early 7-2 lead and a timeout by Arizona. The Wildcats made a living in the paint in the half, though, scoring 20 points near the bucket on a host of layups and backdoor cuts.
The Blue Raiders held UA scoreless over the final 3:03 of the half and took advantage, with Orr hitting a driving layup as the shot clock expired and Brown nailing another trifecta for the two-point halftime lead.
In the second half Holt scored the first six points for the Blue Raiders, who never trailed after intermission. Arizona kept the came within a bucket until Middle Tennessee's 7-0 run led by Barclay that helped the Blue Raiders pull away.
It was Middle Tennessee's second road victory of the young season after posting 13 last season.
The Blue Raiders conclude their current three-game road swing with a 5 contest at Chattanooga Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT.
The Blue Raiders used their third different starting lineup in the contest, with seniors Amber Holt and Starr Orr, junior Johnna Abney, sophomore Brandi Brown and freshman Anne Marie Lanning drawing the starting nod in the contest ... Today's game marked the first-ever meeting between Middle Tennessee and Arizona and just the second contest all-time for the Blue Raiders against a team from the Pac-10. Middle Tennessee improved its mark against the Pac-10 to 2-0 all-time ... The Blue Raiders won on the road for the second time this season in three tries. Middle Tennessee posted a school-record 13 road wins last season and upped its mark to 19-11 on the road under third-year head coach Rick Insell.
HOOP-AND-HOLLER FOR A DOLLAR: Middle Tennessee will have hoop-and-holler for a $1 for the team's next home game, Sunday, December 2, versus Western Carolina. All general admission tickets for the 2 p.m. contest will cost $1 and may be purchased from the Middle Tennessee Ticket Office.
SEASON TICKETS STILL ON SALE: Middle Tennessee's women have already surpassed last year's season ticket total and fans may continue to purchase season tickets until Wednesday, December 12. Last year the Blue Raiders sold 2,111 season tickets and already this season fans have purchased almost 2,500 season passes for the 12 regular season home dates, which includes a December 28 contest against four-time NCAA Final Four participant LSU. Women's hoops season tickets are $100 and the combo pack, which includes 18 home contests for the men, is $210. A season ticket brochure may be found at http://www.goblueraiders.com/content.cfm/id/28500.
VIDEO STREAMING FOR ALL GAMES THIS SEASON: There will be no radio for the two exhibition games for the Blue Raiders, but fans may watch the games live over the internet at GoBlueRaiders.com by signing up for the video streaming service through B2 Networks at this link: http://www.goblueraiders.com/content.cfm/id/27642. To watch streaming video through GoBlueRaiders.com and B2 Networks, users must have a broadband Internet connection (500K+) and Windows Media Player version 9 or newer. An All-Sports Pass, which covers all sporting events for the remainder of the 2007-08 academic year, costs $99.95, while a single-game pass is $6. Fans may also purchase a package for all home basketball games this year, which includes men's and women's contests, totaling 35 games for $50.