Middle Tennessee (5-3) held a narrow 32-28 advantage at the half, before outscoring the Lady Govs (3-4) 37-15 in the final period. The Raiders have won four consecutive games, while all five victories this season have occurred on the road.
Rowe, the reigning NCAA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, improved her standing as one of the best women basketball players in the country. She produced her fourth straight double-double and sixth of the season. Rowe finished with a game-high 29 points and 20 rebounds. For the first time in 29 years, Rowe became the first MT to reach 20-plus points and 20-plus rebounds since Jennifer McFall had 26 and 21 against West Virginia on Dec. 28, 1984.
The Lexington, Ky., native narrowly missed her career-high 21 rebounds set against North Texas on Jan. 5, 2011. Tuesday’s performance, marked the first time in Rowe’s career, where she scored 20-plus points with 20-plus rebounds. It also marked only the 18th time a Blue Raider had pulled in 20 or more rebounds. She also moved to sixth all-time in scoring with 1,907 points, passing Patrice Holmes (1,891).
Cason set a new career-high in points, with 20 on 7-of-12 shooting, eclipsing her previous mark of 16 set at North Texas in 2012. Seniors KeKe Stewart pitched in five points, while Laken Leonard added four.
Statistically, the Raiders finished the day shooting 34.7 percent (26-of-75) from the field Austin Peay was held to 30.5 percent (18-of-59) on the day. The Raiders out-rebounded the Lady Governors, 62-42. The rebound total was the most for MT since snatching 51 against Troy on Feb. 10, 2013. MT forced 19 APSU turnovers, while committing a season-low nine mistakes. The Raiders dominated the paint, scoring 38 points to APSU’s 16.
Middle Tennessee led by as much as 12 early in the first half, behind the tandem of Rowe and Cason, who scored 12 and 13 points, respectively. The Lady Govs closed the first half on an 8-2 run, narrowing the score to 35-32. The Blue Raider 3-point advantage was the second closest of the season behind the 2-point lead over Miami on Nov. 15.
After Austin Peay put together back-to-back layups following a 3-point basket by Cason, the Lady Govs narrowed the lead down to three points. Rick Insell’s Blue Raiders responded. Rowe scooped in a layup with 15:35 minutes remaining, pushing the lead to 42-32. MT and Austin Peay traded baskets to put the MT advantage at 50-39.
The Blue Raiders proceeded to go on a 13-0 run that totaled five-plus minutes. Rowe scored nine points in the streak to put the game firmly in the grasp of Middle Tennessee. MT pushed the lead to as many as 28 after a TiAnna Porterjumper with 38 seconds remaining.
Middle Tennessee returns to the Murphy Center to host Kennesaw State Thursday, Dec. 12 for the second Murfreesboro City Schools Education Day. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m.
Senior Ebony Rowe moved to sixth in all-time scoring with 1,907 points, passing Patrice Holmes … Rowe is nine away from matching Chrissy Givens for fifth all-time … Rowe moved to second all-time with 568 career defensive rebounds, passing Holmes … Rowe moved to fourth all-time with 751 career made field goals … The 26-point lead is the largest for the Blue Raiders this season, surpassing the 24-point win over Mississippi State last Sunday to win the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. … TiAnna Porter had a career-best seven rebounds … Rowe now has 59 career double-doubles.