NASHVILLE --- Despite having four Lady Tigers score in the double digits for the first time this season, Tennessee State (0-6, 0-0 OVC) was unable to convert crucial shots down the stretch and fell to Middle Tennessee (5-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) on Monday night. The final score of the contest was 82-63 in favor of the Lady Raiders.
Tennessee State picked up its first first half lead of an opponent this season, going up 9-6 at the 15:05 mark. However, the lead was short-lived as junior Patrice Holmes dropped in the first of her four three-pointers on the night, knotting the game at nine and helping MTSU to knock down eight of its first 10 shots from the floor. The Lady Raiders continued to rain down shots on the basket, pulling ahead by as many as 12 before the Lady Tigers made their move.
Junior Lakisha Clay (Detroit, Mich.) started a TSU rally behind two made free throws and a jumper that moved the Lady Tigers to within eight. A jump shot by senior Kisha Stewart (Memphis, Tenn.) at the 4:07 mark narrowed the gap to six points before the Lady Raiders surged again and notched a 13-point lead. Three consecutive fouls by MTSU players saw junior Kendra Bailey (Cleveland, Ohio), Clay and sophomore Denina Lockridge (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) all go perfect from the charity stripe and move the Lady Tigers to within seven with one minute left in the first half.
Middle Tennessee headed into the locker room with a nine-point lead, 40-31, after Holmes dropped in two shots from the free-throw line. At halftime both squads had one player in the double digits and had at least one player who was perfect from the charity stripe.
Costly back-to-back turnovers to open the second stanza moved MTSU ahead by 11 points despite senior Odessa Kelly (Nashville, Tenn.) draining three jumpers in a row. A foul by Ciara Gray sent Kelly to the free-throw line for three shots, which she netted effortlessly. Only down by 10, the Lady Tigers again attempted to start another team rally.
Unfortunately, Tennessee State's defense could not stop the hot hand of Holmes, who dropped in back-to-back treys. The Lady Tigers managed to keep the Lady Raiders within striking distance throughout most of the second half before yet another three-point shot, this time from NBA distance, by Holmes pushed the win out of Tennessee State's reach.
Holmes led Middle Tennessee with a game-high 31 points. The Lady Raiders also had two other players in the double digits.
For the Lady Tigers, Stewart led the way with 16 points, followed by Clay with 14, Kelly with 13 and Lockridge with 10.
Tennessee State outrebounded the Lady Raiders, 31-29, and bettered them from the charity stripe, 83.3 percent to 81.8 percent.
The Lady Tigers return to action on Thursday night as they close out their final two-game homestand against non-conference opponents. Tennessee State will host Alabama A&M at the Gentry Center beginning at 7 p.m.