Before the season began Lady Raiders coach Rick Insell mentioned that things would be a little different this year. If the month of November is any indication, he was right.
The Lady Raiders opened their season with a road contest against Virginia. The game opened as a close one with MT leading by three at the end of the first quarter, but they stumbled in the second quarter as they were outscored 22 to 7. That quarter would be all the difference as the teams scored 30 points each in the second half. In what was ultimately a sloppy game, both teams combined for 35 percent shooting and 47 turnovers. Virginia won 63–51.
The Lady Raiders had another big test as they hosted then No. 5 Louisville. Once again, one quarter put Middle behind the 8 ball as Louisville opened up with a 22–9 lead. Ty Petty proved to be a bright spot for MT, registering a career high 27 points and 11 assists. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome the 1st quarter deficit. U of L outscored the Lady Raiders only by six through the rest of the game as the Cardinals claimed the 91–72 victory.
“I would definitely trade the win for the points, but I just did whatever I had to do for my team to try and will us to a win,” Petty said.
Middle Tennessee hit the road again to renew an old-time rivalry against Tennessee Tech. The offensive production was well distributed as five Lady Raiders scored in double figures. However, it was Abby Sissom who helped MT pull away as she scored 12 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“Had Sissom not showed up in the fourth quarter we may not have won the game,” Insell said.
The Lady Raiders rounded out the month with a midday game against Ohio. Despite dominating the Bobcats on the glass, MT could not overcome their turnovers. The Lady Raiders committed 26 turnovers to Ohio’s 11. The Bobcats also dominated from beyond the arc as they drained 13 threes to MT’s one. Ohio left Murfreesboro with the 73–52 win as MT dropped to 1–3 on the season.
The Lady Raiders will need to solve a few problems if they hope to have an improved December. They will need to start matching their intensity for the full four quarters as they have disappeared at moments in each of their losses that could have been the difference in the game. Most importantly, however, they will need to become a more efficient team.
Middle has struggled from beyond the arc, making only a third of their attempts. They are struggling from the free throw line as well, knocking down only 70 percent of their shots from the stripe.
The biggest Achilles heel in November was ball security. The Lady Raiders are averaging more than 22 turnovers so far this season.
The Lady Raiders did put up a victory against Tulane on Dec. 3 to bring their record to 2–3, but the schedule won’t get any easier for the Lady Raiders in December as they will take on Power 5 foes Kentucky, Arizona State and Georgia Tech.