FRISCO, Texas – No. 25 Middle Tennessee women’s basketball won the opening tip and never trailed on Thursday, blitzing out to a dominant 84-53 victory over Charlotte in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Conference USA Tournament.
The Lady Raiders (26-4) held a seven-point lead after the first quarter behind seven second chance points in the frame and continued to build the lead in dramatic fashion, shooting 57.1 percent in the second quarter to outscore the 49ers (12-19) by a scalding 26-12 margin in the quarter, taking a 46-25 lead into the locker room at the break. MTSU kept its foot on the gas, continuing to build its lead while stifling the 49er offense, holding Charlotte to just 31.5 percent shooting (17-for-54) in the game, including an ice-cold 1-for-14 beyond the arc.
Savannah Wheeler was essential in her first Conference USA Tournament game as a Lady Raider, scoring 28 points thanks to a strong day from three (4-for-8) and a knack for getting into the paint and to the free throw line (8-for-10). Wheeler also secured six rebounds and dished three assists. Starting her final C-USA Tournament, Alexis Whittington was huge on both ends of the court, scoring 17 points with a scoring 4-for-5 morning beyond the arc, while holding All-Conference USA First Team guard Jada McMillian to just four points on defense.
Courtney Blakely was the other Lady Raider in double figures, scoring 11 points off the bench with five rebounds. Courtney Whitson led MTSU with seven rebounds, scoring five points and passing out three assists on offense. Anastasiia Boldyreva was once again efficient in the post, scoring eight points on 4-of-7 shooting.
By the Numbers
84: Total points for the Lady Raiders. The 84 points tied for the most scored in the Conference USA Tournament game in program history, equaling the previous record with 84 points against Southern Miss in the 2014 C-USA Tournament Championship Game.
19: Second-chance points for the Lady Raiders. MTSU grabbed 13 offensive boards, dominating the glass to power their way through early shooting struggles in the cavernous Ford Center at the Star.
25: Points off turnovers for MTSU. Facing one of the most turnover prone teams in Conference USA, the Lady Raiders pounced, turning the Niners over 17 times to get extra possessions and occasionally exceptionally easy buckets.