UAB Falls To No. 20 Middle Tennessee, 69-59

UABSPORTS.COM Senior Ashley Grimes led UAB with 21 points against Middle Tennessee.
Senior Ashley Grimes led UAB with 21 points against Middle Tennessee.

March 13, 2014

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EL PASO, Texas - Three players scored in double figures but it wasn't enough as the UAB women's basketball team fell to the top-seed and No. 20 Middle Tennessee, 69-59, in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship.

UAB (16-15) shot 42.3 percent from the field (22-of-52), including a 13-of-24 performance in the first half (.542), and turned 10 Blue Raiders' turnovers into 15 points.

Middle Tennessee (27-4) countered by out-rebounding the Blazers, 42-28, turned 17 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points and held a 32-20 edge in points in the paint.

It was a game of runs early on as the Blazers scored the first six points before Middle Tennessee came right back with eight consecutive points of its own to claim a two-point lead 4:17 into the contest.

The two teams traded buckets over the next five-and-a-half minutes before the Blazers used a 10-3 run to take a six-point edge at 26-20 with 7:33 to play in the opening stanza.

UAB's still held the advantage one minute later at 28-22, but Middle Tennessee outscored the Blazers, 14-6, over the final six-and-half-minutes of the period to go into halftime on top, 36-34.

The Blue Raiders stretched the lead to seven with five straight points to open the second half only to see UAB answer with a 7-0 run to tie things up at 41-all with 14:22 to play.

Middle Tennessee extended its lead to six twice, taking a 50-44 advantage with 9:53 remaining. From there, UAB had back-to-back baskets by senior Karisma Chapman to make it a two-point affair and set up a game-tying layup from sophomore Khoria Newman.

The Blazers' momentum was halted once again by a 3-pointer from Keke Stewart to put Middle Tennessee ahead for good. UAB hung tough for a while and Middle Tennessee clung to a 59-57 lead with 3:23 remaining in regulation.

UAB got a layup from Newman with 1:13 left on the clock to cut the deficit to seven, but Middle Tennessee hit three of its four free throw opportunities the rest of the way to secure the win.

Senior Ashley Grimes led three Blazers in double figures with 21 points while Chapman and sophomore Chelsee Black finished with totals of 16 and 12, respectively. Chapman paced UAB with nine assists and four steals, and shared team-high assist honors with Black at three apiece.

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