HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (3/7/10) - North Texas' up-tempo defense stifled Middle Tennessee early, but the No. 2 seed Lady Raiders and Alysha Clark were too tough in a 106-66 loss in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
MTSU (23-5) showed why it's won five of the last six Sun Belt titles, taking a 20-point halftime lead and blowing it further open with a 15-2 run in the first 2:55 of the second half. Clark, the Sun Belt Player of the Year, broke the Sun Belt Tournament scoring record with 40 points.
After upsetting FIU in the opening round of the Sun Belt Tournament, North Texas (9-22) ended its year in the tournament's quarterfinals for a second straight year.
Brittney James led five North Texas players in double figures with 16 points. Denetra Kellum wasn't far behind with 12 points, Brittney Hudson and Jasmine Godbolt added 11, while Raquel Cuffie scored 10.
Godbolt, the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, picked up her ninth double-double of the year with a game-high 14 rebounds.
As a team, NT was aggressive in getting to the free throw stripe. The Mean Green made 25-of-36 (69.4 percent) free throw attempts, but shot just 31.7 percent from the floor.
Just like yesterday's opening-round game, North Texas' perimeter defense was tough early. The Lady Raiders missed six of their first seven 3-point attempts, and a pair of free throws from Kellum put NT down just a point, 3-2, with two minutes gone.
Both teams had trouble finding the net in the opening frame, but NT stayed alive with its free throw shooting. The Mean Green hit just one field goal in the game's first 14 minutes, but was 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) from the stripe against the Raiders in the first.
The Mean Green finished the first half just 6-of-27 (22.2 percent) from the floor. MTSU's Clark was nearly unstoppable in the first half with 21 points, as NT went into the break down 45-25. James led NT with 10 points at the half.