EL PASO, Texas -- Ebony Rowe scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead No. 22 Middle Tennessee, the top seed in the Conference USA tournament, to a 69-59 win over eighth-seeded Alabama-Birmingham on Thursday.
Rowe had five points as the Blue Raiders (27-4) outscored the Blazers (16-15) 10-2 in the last 3 minutes to win their ninth straight game.Middle Tennessee faces 13th-seeded Florida International (12-17), which pulled off its third-straight upset over fourth-seeded Tulane, on Friday.UAB shot 54 percent in the first half to trail 36-34, and though the Blazers cooled off, they hung around. They were down by two when MTU's Olivia Jones, who had six offensive rebounds and 11 overall, made a layup at 2:46. After a UAB miss, Rowe converted a three-point play and, after another miss, scored at 1:26 for a 66-57 lead.KeKe Stewart added 15 points for Middle Tennessee.Ashley Grimes had 21 points and Karisma Chapman 16 for the Blazers, who cooled off to shoot 32 percent in the second half.