The Lady Raiders entered December with a 1–3 record after a very tough November schedule. However, December’s schedule didn’t get any easier.
MT started the month with a homestand against Tulane. The Green Wave had limited opponents to just 27 percent on three-point shooting prior to the game, but it didn’t slow the Lady Raiders as they sank nearly 42 percent of their 24 attempts from the arc.
As impressive as the team was from behind the line, no player was more impressive than Abbey Sissom. The junior guard made 5 of 7 shots from the distance on her way to recording a career high 21 points. Alex Johnson added a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Ty Petty nearly achieved a double-double of her own with 10 points and eight assists. The Lady Raiders claimed their first home victory of the season 62–59.
Next up for the Lady Raiders was a road trip to Lexington to take on No. 15 Kentucky.
The Lady Raiders came out hot and took a 18–15 advantage in the first quarter, an advantage they stretched to a 23–16 lead during the second. However, UK turned things around and took a 35–31 lead into the half.
Unfortunately, Middle went cold in the second half, making only 22 percent of their shots. On top of that, the Wildcats doubled the Lady Raiders up on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 44–22. The Wildcats took the “W” 61–48.
Johnson and Petty provided the Lady Raiders with 75 percent of the team’s scoring, contributing 19 and 17 points respectively.
The challenges for the Lady Raiders continued as No. 23 Arizona State came to the Murphy Center. With a roster that boasts eight players of six feet tall, it is no surprise why the Sun Devils caused problems for Middle.
The Lady Raiders shot a mere 39 percent from the field, while ASU made good on nearly 56 percent of their attempts. Once again, Middle’s opponent doubled them up on rebounds as well.
Johnson was the lone Lady Raider to score in double figures, as she posted 21 despite being outsized by her defenders.
After two very tough games in a row, the Lady Raiders desperately needed a lesser challenge to help the right the ship and get some confidence back. Luckily, a home game against Austin Peay was next on the schedule.
Johnson got involved early and often in this one, as she accounted for more than half of Middle’s 18 first quarter points.
Still, it was Austin Peay that led at the half, however, they went ice cold in the second. The same Governors team that made half their shots in the first two quarters made only four shots the rest of the way, resulting in a Lady Raider 82–51 victory.
Johnson led the way with a career-high 28 points along with six rebounds. Rebecca Reuter recorded her first double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Petty added 10 points and six assists.
The Lady Raiders took to the road to play Missouri State next. Though this was expected to be a tough road game, MT ended up making it look easy.
The Lady Raiders forced the Bears to shoot just 35 percent from the field and 21 percent from beyond Johnson chipped in 12 while Gabby Lyon provided 14 points off the bench.
The Lady Raiders hosted another power conference team next when Georgia Tech came to Murphy Center. Unfortunately, MT came out ice cold to start the game.
The Lady Raiders shot only 31 percent in the first half, but drastically improved their percentage in the second half, making nearly half of their shots. Though they got close, MT never could catch up with Georgia Tech as they dropped this one 61–60.
Johnson led the team with 16 points while Petty and Reuter each contributed 11.
The team needed to end the year on a high note, but their next opponent, Central Michigan, stomped the Lady Raiders a season ago. However, time changes all things.
Despite solid height on the interior, Middle was able to exploit CMU’s weak interior defense to generate 42 points in the post. The bulk of those points belonged to Alex Johnson who posted another career high of 30.
The post production along with strong perimeter efforts from Petty (21 points), Sissom (10 points, eight assists) and Jess Louro (2-of-3 from the arc and seven rebounds) propelled the Lady Raiders to a 69–59 victory to close out the non-conference schedule.