Lady Raiders Sail Past Florida Atlantic

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MURFREESBORO - Senior point guard Chelsia Lymon dropped in five first-half 3-pointers, including three in the final 2:30 of the period, as Middle Tennessee placed four starters in double figures for the second-straight game in a 92-76 victory over Florida Atlantic Saturday afternoon in Sun Belt women's basketball action inside the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Lymon finished with 20 points, a season high, while adding six rebounds, five assists and two steals in only 24 minutes. She converted her only attempt of the second half, a 3-pointer, to help the Blue Raiders pad to their total of 11.

Senior All-American Alysha Clark registered another double-double with 37 points and 11 rebounds, while also leading all players with five steals. She now has 10 double-doubles this season, 27 at Middle Tennessee and 65 overall in her career. Clark has moved into a tie for 11th on the all-time NCAA list with her total, needing one more to join the Top 10.

Also netting double-digit points were senior Brandi Brown and sophomore Tina Stewart, who poured in 15 and 10 points, respectively. Brown recorded three triples, moving within 10 of the career Blue Raider mark, while Stewart added a pair as part of her second-straight double-digit scoring output.

Five Florida Atlantic players reached double figures, including a team-high 16 from Brittany Bowe. She was a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line and had one-half of the Owls' 10 assists. Jessica Knurick chipped in 13, Carla Stubbs and Breana Turner tallied a dozen each and Lyrell Barfield contributed 10. Turner hauled in a team-high 11 rebounds for a double-double.

Middle Tennessee started the game with its trademark pressure defense, forcing three turnovers on the first five Florida Atlantic (8-9, 4-3 Sun Belt) possessions. The pressure helped the Blue Raiders open a 19-4 lead just over five-and-a-half minutes into the game as Lymon capped a 10-0 spurt by hitting a 3-pointer, swiping a steal and making a layup and draining another trey.

The Owls managed to trim the deficit to 11, 29-18, at 8:59 following a steal and layup from Barfield. The 11-point cushion would be the closest FAU would get the remainder of the game, as Middle Tennessee (11-5, 6-1 Sun Belt) used a 15-7 run, capped by Lymon's 3-pointer at 2:27, to open up the margin.

Bowe hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining in the stanza to cut the gap to 17, 50-33, but Stewart nailed a 3-pointer with six seconds left to send MT into the intermission ahead, 53-33.

The second half lead quickly swelled to 25, 66-41, on a Clark steal and layup at 15:02. Back-to-back field goals from Stubbs pulled Florida Atlantic within 21, but the Blue Raiders then rattled off a 12-4 steak over the next four minutes for its first 29-point lead, the largest of the contest. MT would hold two other 29-point advantages and lead by as much as 26 when Clark connected on her final field goal with 4:45 to play for an 86-60 score.

Florida Atlantic took advantage of the Blue Raiders playing their subs down the stretch, outscoring Middle Tennessee 16-6 the remainder of the game to decide the final tally.

It marked the second-straight game in which the Blue Raiders topped 90 points and setting a home season high.

Middle Tennessee will return to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday when it travels to Monroe, La., to face ULM.
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