MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Senior Ebony Rowe broke the Middle Tennessee's 27-year-old program scoring record, and in the process led the Blue Raiders to a 62-49 win over Old Dominion on Saturday afternoon at Murphy Center.
Rowe entered the day just seven points shy of Kim Webb's program record of 2,148 points. The Lexington, Ky. native made her first six points from the floor, and went for a layup from the left side of the basket with 5:49 to go in the half, aiming for Blue Raider history. Rowe was fouled from behind from the shot attempt, making the first free throw to tie Webb's record, and the second to break it.
Rowe finished with a game-high 17 points and was tied for the game-high with nine rebounds, leading Middle Tennessee (17-3, 6-0 C-USA) to a 16th-straight victory. Sophomore Caroline Warden tallied a season-high 13 points, while senior KeKe Stewart was also in double-figures with 11.
"The crowd was so amazing and they wanted it so bad for me," noted Rowe. "I really almost cried, and I know it sounds so corny but it was just a great atmosphere and I wouldn't want to do this anywhere else but here."
"She's just been a great young lady, a great leader, and a great student-athlete," said head coach Rick Insell. "Very few of those come along. She's very humble. That's the most emotion I've ever seen her show about that. I knew it was bothering her a little bit, but now it's over with. She's there and I thought she played a good game tonight. I haven't seen her yet but she's probably the happiest young lady that's in the dressing room just because we won the ball game, not because she's the all-time leading scorer now."
The game was tied, 12-12, before MT rattled off a 10-0 run that was capped off by Rowe's record-breaking free throw. The Lady Monarchs (9-11, 2-4 C-USA) would pull to within 26-18 before the half, shooting 33.3-percent in the opening 20 minutes with 10 turnovers. MT shot just 29.4-percent, but capitalized on the ODU giveaways.
The Blue Raiders would extend the lead to 29-18 in the opening seconds of the second half on an offensive rebound and three-point play by Stewart. The MT advantage would fluctuate between seven and 11 points before a Warden trey and Rowe layup extended the advantage to 42-30 with 12:32 to play.
Another Stewart three-point play extended the advantage to 48-34 with 7:45 to play, and led 54-41 after two more Stewart free throws at 5:11. Old Dominion would turn up the defensive pressure, forcing two consecutive backcourt turnovers - a pass out of bounds and a traveling violation - and cutting the deficit to nine.
Rowe would make a free throw to extend the advantage back to 10, before Cason atoned for her earlier travel with a corner three to make it 58-45 with just over three minutes to play. MT would keep the cushion at a double-digit margin the rest of the way, closing out the game with a