Win over MTSU a milestone for Troy women’s basketball

Published 10:30 pm Monday, February 11, 2013

Troy’s win over Middle Tennessee State’s women’s basketball team on Sunday wasn’t just an important Sun Belt Conference victory, it was a historic one.

The Trojans defeated the league’s most prolific team for the first time in school history, 74-70, in a thrilling overtime contest.

Troy built a 12-point halftime lead and then watched as the Blue Raiders came storming back to tie the game, 61-61, with 49 seconds left in regulation. It looked as though the Trojans would suffer another heartbreaking defeat after MTSU’s Kortni Jones was fouled with six seconds left and went to the free throw line with two attempts to put the Blue Raiders in the lead. Jones missed both and Britney McCloud came down with the defensive rebounds and was fouled, sending her to the charity stripe with a chance to win the game. She too would miss her free throw attempt and the game was sent to overtime.

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Troy would go on to outscore Middle Tennessee State 13-9 in the extra period to hand the Blue Raiders only its sixth Sun Belt Conference loss in the last five seasons. The decision also snapped MTSU’s 12-game winning streak.

“I can’t say enough about this team,” head coach Chanda Rigby said. “I think they got lost in the gameplan in a good way. They were so concentrated on the gameplan, they forgot who we were playing and how big of a game it was.”

The win send shockwaves through the league and the women’s basketball universe. One of ESPN’s women’s basketball beat writers labeled the game as the upset of the week.

The win is just the fifth by the Trojans this season and second in league play, but it is one that Rigby and the Trojans can hang their hat on moving forward with the “new era” of Troy basketball.

“This will do a lot for our program,” Rigby said. “Winning that game showed that we can compete with anyone in the league.”

Troy (5-18, 2-12 Sun Belt) was 0-16 all-time against MTSU and the Trojans fist road Sun Belt victory since Feb. 27, 2010.

Joanna Harden led the Trojans with 27 points and was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week for her efforts.

“I coach through faith. I know and have faith in what this team will become even though you can’t see it yet. Sometime it’s hard for others to see it,” Rigby said. “This is something solid that people can see and believe in.”