MTSU coach Rick Insell and players A’Queen Hayes and Taylor Sutton discuss the Lady Raiders’ win over La Tech on Jan. 12, 2019.
Luis Torres, USA TODAY NETWORK – Jackson
Coming off a physical 66-49 win over Southern Mississippi on Thursday, coach Rick Insell said he would have a light practice the day before the Louisiana Tech game on Saturday.
The extra bit of rest paid off in a big way for the Lady Raiders.
The Lady Raiders (13-4, 4-0 Conference USA) blew out the Lady Techsters (9-8, 1-3) 75-38 at Murphy Center, continuing their strong play to begin the conference slate.
A’Queen Hayes led the way for MTSU with 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
“I thought we executed our offense extremely well,” Insell said. “… I think that was the difference in the game.”
Still perfect in conference play
With the win, the Lady Raiders are tied with Rice at the top of the C-USA standings at 4-0. Rival Western Kentucky is right behind the two teams at 3-0. The perfect start is just what Insell needed from his team as the schedule begins to take a tougher turn in the coming weeks.
Strong third quarter propels MTSU
The Lady Raiders came out of the half-time locker room with a purpose. MTSU clamped down on the defensive end and were efficient on the offensive end as the Lady Raiders outscored La Tech 24-5 in the third quarter. The Lady Techsters finished the second half 4-for-25 from the field in the second half.
Taylor Sutton continues to impress
She might not always be efficient, but freshman guard Taylor Sutton isn’t afraid to shoot the ball. Sutton finished Saturday’s contest with 16 points on 7-for-16 shooting from the field. The Atlanta native has scored in double figures 10 times.
“I’ve learned that I had to grow up a lot,” said Sutton on what she has learned her first 17 games. “That defense is the main key to winning games.”
Lady Raiders contain Kierra Anthony
Louisiana Tech guard Kierra Anthony entered Saturday’s game leading the conference in scoring at 25.1 points per game. MTSU guard A’Queen Hayes made sure she wasn’t going to have an easy night. Hayes drew the assignment of guarding Anthony and made it tough for her to catch each pass. Anthony finished the game with 11 points.
“Coach kept saying not to foul and that was my biggest thing was not to get into foul trouble early on,” Hayes said. “… I like the challenge (of guarding the opposing team’s top scorer). I love it. It’s what I’m here for.”
Up next: Lady Raiders head to Texas
The Lady Raiders will head back onto the road this week looking to begin C-USA play 6-0. MTSU plays at UTSA at 7 p.m. on Thursday before turning around and playing at UTEP at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
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