Season Opening Victory: Women's Basketball Downs Middle Tennessee 76-68
By ODU Athletics
Nov. 10, 2007
NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion women's basketball team kicked off the 2007-08 season with a 76-68 victory over Middle Tennessee State, team receiving votes in both national polls, Saturday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The victory marked the first season opening win for the Lady Monarchs since the 2001-02 season.
Senior and returning leading scorer T.J. Jordan (Portsmouth, Va.) led Old Dominion with 19 points while classmate Shahida Williams (Newark, N.J.) nearly missed a double-double with 15 points and nine boards.
Also pouring in double figures in the win was sophomore Jessica Canaday (Williamsburg, Va.) with a career-high 13 points. The second year Lady Monarch came off the bench to log 23 minutes of action, connecting on 6-of-13 from the field and swatting away a career-tying three blocks against the opposition.
The Blue Raiders, also playing in their 2007-08 season opener, were led by Latoya Barclay with a career-high 17 points. Fifteen of Barclay's points came in the second half as the Lady Monarchs thwarted a late Middle Tennessee surge. Senior First Team All-Sun Belt selection Amber Holt added in 14 points and six steals, but was limited to just 22 minutes due to foul trouble.
Middle Tennessee's Brandi Brown rounded out the Blue Raider double figure leaders with 13 points.
The visitors from Mufreesboro, Tennessee opened the game with a 6-2 lead. The Blue Raiders, known for their three-point shooting, hit two shots from downtown to help establish their lead. However, Old Dominion produced a 19-5 run over the course of six minutes to take control of the lead that they would never lose.
The Lady Monarchs led by as many as 14 in the first stanza, but as the half was drawing to a close, Middle Tennessee closed the gap to within seven. Over the final 4:41 of the first half, the Blue Raiders outscored the Lady Monarchs, 11-4, and Old Dominion entered the half up 37-30.
The first part of the second half saw the Lady Monarchs leading by double figures. Coming out of the lockerroom, Old Dominion re-established a double figure advantage with six unanswered points in the first minute and a half. Senior Megan Pym (Newfield, N.Y.) gave the Lady Monarchs their biggest edge of the night with a lay-up with 8:52 left in the game for a 17-point, 64-47, lead.
The Blue Raiders did not go away as five minutes later the Lady Monarchs were clinging to a three-point, 69-66, lead. Over the course of those five minutes, Middle Tennessee only allowed the Lady Monarchs to net five points, all coming from the hands of Williams on two lay-ups and the second of a two shot award from the charity stripe. Williams' final free throw still had Old Dominion leading by 14, 69-55, with 5:39 to go. The next two minutes however had the Blue Raiders net 11 unanswered points. Middle Tennessee's Barclay capped the run by hiting a three.
Following Barclay's three with 3;09 left in the game, the Blue Raiders had a chance to capitialize on an ODU turnover. Jackie Pickel from the right side of the arc launched a three, which could have tied the game, but Pym came up with a huge rebound and a put back at the other end of the court to help seal the victory for Old Dominion.
The only points Middle Tennessee would get the rest of the way would be from the line by Holt with 20 seconds remaining. Meanwhile, the Lady Monarchs tacked on five more points along the way for the final score.
Old Dominion went to the line 35 times sinking 27 shots and shot 77.1 percent from the charity stripe. Junior Tiffany Green (Chesapeake, Va.) who hit only 51 percent a year ago from the line went 8-of-9 while Jordan went 6-of-7 and Williams, who connected for just 49 percent last season, netted 5-of-6.
Old Dominion now stands at 26-13 in season opening victories and 28-11 in home openers.
The Lady Monarchs return to action on Tuesday, November 13th at East Carolina in Greenville, North Carolina. Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m.