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Rally Helps MTSU Escape Furman, 78-71

Rally Helps MTSU Escape Furman, 78-71

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Middle Tennessee State used a late third quarter rally to erase a double digit deficit and carry momentum into the fourth quarter to down a game Furman squad, 78-71, in women's basketball action Sunday afternoon at Timmons Arena.

MTSU, which opened the season on Friday with a 65-58 triumph over Vanderbilt, improves to 2-0 on the season  with the victory while the setback drops Furman to 1-1 on the campaign.

Trailing 57-45 with just over four minutes to go in the third quarter, the Lady Raiders closed the period with a 9-1 run, capped by a Taylor Sutton 3-pointer in the final seconds to cut Furman's lead to 58-54.

MTSU forward Alex Johnson continued the run to start the fourth period with a basket and two free throws to put the Lady Raiders up, 60-58.  After Furman tied it with a pair of Jarya Outten free throws, A'Queen Hayes' jump shot on the ensuing possession put MTSU ahead for good.

Furman stayed close, twice getting within a point, including a 72-71 deficit following a Kaityln Duncan layup with 20 seconds to go, but MTSU held on by scoring its final eight points from the free throw line.

Sutton paced MTSU's contingent of five double figure scorers with 18 points. Anna Jones and Hayes contributed 13 apiece, and Johnson and Johnson with 12, and Jess Louro with 10.

Furman got a game high 22 points from junior guard Le'Jzae Davidson and a career high 17-point, seven-rebound performance out of Duncan.

The Paladins shot a blistering 60 percent from the field over the game's first 20 minutes, connecting on 12-of-20 shots for a 40-36 halftime lead.

The hot shooting continued to start the second half as Furman drained its first seven attempts of the third quarter to bump its shooting percentage up to 70.4 percent (19-of-27), helping the Paladins to a 57-45 lead with 4:09 remaining.  Furman, however, missed 11 of its next 12 shots, and MTSU capitalized with a 15-1 run to grab the lead for good.

Both teams finished the contest shooting 50.0 percent, Furman converting 23-of-46 shots and MTSU 28-of-56.  The Lady Raiders outscored the Paladins 30-18 from beyond the arc, which erased Furman's seven-point advantage at the free throw line (19-of-27).  MTSU fashioned a 31-26 edge in rebounding.