BOCA RATON, Fla. – That was a birthday the Whittington twins will not soon forget.
Middle Tennessee Senior Guards Alexis and Amanda Whittington, who were celebrating their 22nd birthday, came at stake to give the Lady Raiders a riveting 60-56 win at the Florida Atlantic on Thursday.
Amanda Whittingtons 3-pointers from the left corner with 19 seconds left gave Middle Tennessee a 56-53 lead and four straight free throws Alexis Whittington and Courtney Whitson the last five seconds was the icing on the cake.
“This is the first time we’ve played on our birthday since we’ve been to Middle Tennessee,” Amanda Whittington said. “Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate your birthday.”
Exceptional play on the track allowed Middle Tennessee (12-3, 4-1) to celebrate another C-USA away win.
Alexis Whittington had a solid all-around game with 13 points (on 4-of-6 shots from the field) and seven rebounds. Courtney Whitson shared the highest total in the game with 13 points and had nine rebounds with three steals and three assists.
DorSaar scored 10 points and gave out five assists in 40 minutes with no turnover. Saar also had two steals. Freshman Center Anastasia Boldyreva had a solid showing with eight points and three blocked shots.
“I’m proud of our team and the way they fought to win,” head coach Lady Raider Rick Insell said. “We were shorthanded and didn’t play great but we found a way to win and that’s the sign of a good team. I’m proud of Amanda and happy for her. She did great and she deserved it in this moment. (Saar) gave a great pass to Amanda in the corner and she knocked him down.
The game was tied 53-53 and the Owls had a chance to take the lead, but Rita Pleskevich’s 3-pointer went wide with 1:15 to go. Saar missed a three at the other end with 45 seconds left, but Alexis Whittington grabbed the offensive rebound to keep possession alive.
Boldyreva missed a short jumper with 37 seconds to go, but Alexis Whittington pulled together the offensive pile-up again and set the stage for her sister’s heroic game-winner with 19 seconds remaining.
Alexis Whittington turned the game with nine of their 13 points in the third quarter and went from the field with 3 of 4, including a long 3-pointer that made an 8-0 run from Middle Tennessee and a nice driving reverse layup, and drew that Foul and conversion of free throw to keep Lady Raider’s lead at 41-34 with 4:07 remaining in the quarter.
Boldyreva’s game in the second quarter was a highlight and allowed the Lady Raiders to reduce a seven-point deficit to one by half-time. The freshman center knocked down 4 of 5 field goals in the second quarter, including a reverse layup with a second remaining to reduce the Owls’ lead. Boldyreva had finished her career at halftime for points while also setting a new career high for field goals (4).
Middle Tennessee gets back into action when they play at FIU at 11 a.m. on Saturday