MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – It is hard to put a number value on the impact Alex Johnson and Ty Petty make on the Middle Tennessee women’s basketball team, but 93 percent comes to mind Sunday.
Petty and Johnson combined for 56 of the team’s points as the Lady Raiders (23-10) turned back ACC foe Wake Forest, 73-66, in the second round of the WNIT at Murphy Center Sunday.
The high-scoring duo represented 77 percent of the team’s scoring, and if you factor in assists they accounted for 93 percent of Middle Tennessee’s total offensive output as the Lady Raiders moved into the WNIT Round of 16. Middle Tennessee will face either Georgia Tech or Central Florida in the third round. Site is to be determined later this evening.
Johnson poured in 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line, to go with four rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Johnson became the highest-scoring sophomore in program history with 1,078 career points. She also moved into fourth on the single-season scoring list with 679 so far this season.
Petty also continued to rack up the milestones in a highly-decorated career. Petty finished with 28 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. It was her 100th career victory as a Lady Raider. Middle Tennessee needed all of her heroics, which included 12-for-12 at the free-throw line. Petty scored 20 of her 28 in the second half to help spring Middle Tennessee from Wake Forest in a close contest.
“It has been much been that way all season with Alex and Ty putting up big numbers,” Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell said. “We needed both of them to step up against a talented Wake Forest team, and they did, but we had numerous contributions. Everyone out there impacted the win in some way. Regardless of the outcome of this game, I was going to be pleased because we gave great effort, and we had to.”
Middle Tennessee won the rebounding battle, 35-31, against a much bigger Wake Forest team that was second in the ACC in rebounding. Petty led the way with nine rebounds but no other player had more than four caroms.
“That is team rebounding,” Insell said. “We have been stressing that. We had to battle and fight for rebounds, and we got them. Most of the time rebounding is about effort, and we gave a winning effort tonight.”
The game was close throughout until Middle Tennessee used a 12-0 run to open its biggest lead, 60-48, with 6:05 remaining. Wake Forest would cut the deficit to four, 67-63, with 1:23 remaining, but it could get no closer.
Middle Tennessee shot 92 percent (23-of-25) from the free-throw line and 41 percent (23-of-56) for the game.
In addition to Johnson and Petty’s high-scoring heroics, Kyla Allison (8), Gabby Lyon (4), Abbey Sissom (3) and Rebecca Reuter also got into the scoring column.