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Blue Raiders 27th in USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll

Squad just seven points from Top 25

October 31, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee's women's basketball team is ranked 27th in the Preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll released Wednesday and missed the Top 25 by just seven points.

Defending national champion Tennessee is ranked No. 1 and garnered 26 of the 31 first-place votes in the poll, while Connecticut received four first-place votes and LSU, who Middle Tennessee plays on December 28 in Murfreesboro, garnered the remaining top vote.

The Blue Raiders posted 71 points in the poll, while 25th-ranked N.C. State had 78 points. DePaul received 75 points and was ranked 26th.

Middle Tennessee has been ranked 13th by Sporting News and 22nd by Lindy's this preseason already.

"We had a great season last year and won some big games," head coach Rick Insell said. "I think other coaches around the country took notice of our program and now we just need to keep building on that success and get our program into the Top 25 and the Top 15 each and every year."

Middle Tennessee's 30-4 mark in 2006-07 was the best ever in the history of the program and one of the best in Sun Belt history, as the Blue Raiders rolled through league play and the conference tournament with a 21-0 mark against SBC competition.

Middle Tennessee ended the 2006-07 season ranked 17th by the Associated Press and 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. The Blue Raiders return three starters and seven letterwinners from last year's club.

The entire Preseason Poll may be found at http://www.wbca.org/DICoachesPoll.asp.

The USA TODAY/ESPN Board of Coaches is made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions. All are members of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. The board for the 2007-08 season: Lisa Bluder - Non-Voting Chair, Iowa; Agnus Berenato, Pittsburgh; Pam Borton, Minnesota; Brian Boyer, Arkansas State; Beth Burns, San Diego State; Debra Clark, Florida A&M; Beth Couture, Butler; Leslie Crane, Western Illinois; Dana Eikenberg, Southern Illinois; Tricia Fabbri, Quinnipiac; Sharon Fanning, Mississippi State; Brian Giorgis, Marist; Julie Goodenough, Charleston Southern; Kellie Harper, Western Carolina; Mary Hegarty, Long Beach State; Nate Kilbert, Mississippi Valley State; Melissa McFerrin, American; Kevin McGuff, Xavier; Tina Martin, Delaware; Curt Miller, Bowling Green; Dan Muscatell, Sacramento State; Paul Nixon, Columbia; Rick Reeves, Gardner-Webb; Lee Ann Riley, Stephen F. Austin; Jennifer Rizzotti, Hartford; Rhonda Rompola, Southern Methodist; Julie Rousseau, Pepperdine; Brady Sallee, Eastern Illinois; Cindy Stein, Missouri; LaVonda Wagner, Oregon State; Adrian Wiggins, Fresno State; Kay Yow, North Carolina State.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The first regular-season poll will be conducted the morning of Nov. 13 and be available for an early afternoon release.

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