No. 25 Middle Tennessee tops Western Kentucky for CUSA title

FRISCO, Texas -- — Jalynn Gregory made 5 of 5 3-pointers and scored 24 points to lead No. 25 Middle Tennessee's 82-70 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday night to win the Conference USA Tournament championship.

The Blue Raiders (28-4) will be making their 20th NCAA Tournament appearance.

Alexi Whittington scored 16 points and Savannah Wheeler added 11 points with five assists for Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders only played seven players and both reserves — Kseniya Malashka and Courtney Blakely — reached double figures. Malashka had 14 points and Blakely 10.

The Blue Raiders hit 4 of 5 3-pointers in a 4 1/2-minute stretch of the second quarter to break from a 15-all tie and build a 33-24 lead while scoring 20 points in the first six minutes of the quarter. Middle Tennessee scored 32 points in the quarter and led 47-31 at halftime.

Three free throws from Gregory put the Blue Raiders up by 22 late in the third and they led 63-46 at the end of the quarter. They led by 21 midway through the fourth quarter before Western Kentucky finished with a 12-3 run.

Acacia Hayes led Western Kentucky with 15 points and Aaliyah Pitts scored 11.

The Lady Toppers (19-13) hit 2 of 3 3-pointers in the early going then missed 19 of their next 20 attempts. They finished 6 for 29 from 3-point distance (21%) and 37% overall.

The Blue Raiders made 11 of 27 3-pointers (41%) and shot 42% overall.

------ AP women’s college basketball: and and