MONROE, La. - Ebony Rowe netted a career-high 32 points and Icelyn Elie inked a double-double as Middle Tennessee knocked off ULM, 66-48, on Saturday afternoon at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
The Blue Raiders (11-5, 6-1 Sun Belt) opened the game with an 11-2 lead and used that early momentum to take control. ULM (3-13, 1-6) cut the deficit to within nine, but the Blue Raiders maintained a strong advantage, taking a 22 point lead late in the second half. Saturday's victory gave Middle Tennessee its' season-long fifth consecutive win.
Rowe went 11-of-17 from the field to set a personal best 32 points. The career-high for Rowe bested a previous of 29 set at Arkansas State last year. Rowe grabbed nine boards and picked up a pair of assists and blocks. The Lexington, Ky., native netted 10 of her points from the charity stripe as she registered her 77th double-figure scoring contest.
Lebanon's Elie picked up 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 38 minutes. The senior forward also swatted away one shot and collected a steal. Kortni Jones and Janay Brinkley also picked up five points each against the Warhawks.
For the game, the Blue Raiders shot 43 percent, hitting 25-of-58 field goal attempts. MT outmanned the Warhawks 36-33 on the boards and forced 21 turnovers. ULM shot 40 percent (19-of-47) as Ashleigh Simmons led the squad with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
An 11-2 run combined with five ULM turnovers helped the Blue Raiders gain control of the game early. ULM cut the game to within nine with a basket from Elexar Tuglar at the 9:10 mark.
From there, Rowe scored nine consecutive points to help MT extend its lead to 29-16. Freshman Caroline Warden banked a triple to give MT a 16 point edge with 2:37 left. T he Warhawks cut the lead to 36-22 at the break.
MT forced 11 ULM turnovers in the first half, while notching 10 assists. The Raiders were 13-of-28 from the field for 46 percent. Rowe led MT with 15 points at the break, while Elexar Tugler had five for the 'Hawks.
ULM opened the second half on a 4-0 run to cut their deficit. Brinkley's baseline jumper and triple helped the Blue Raiders push their advantage to 42-27. Midway through the game, ULM went on a 5-1 but it wasn't enough. MT closed out the game with 66 points to pick up their fifth straight win.
Middle Tennessee returns home on Wednesday (Jan. 16) to open a two-game homestand with UALR. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Murphy Center.
Lauren March makes her third consecutive start the longest in her career ... Ebony Rowe reached double-figures for the 77th time out of 80 career games played ... Rowe reached a new career-high besting her previous of 29 set at Arkansas State last season ... Icelyn Elie inked her second double-double this season and the 14th of her career ... Middle Tennessee improves to 8-0 all-time against ULM.