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Stephany Smith Announces the Return of Ciara Gray

November 30, 2004 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee women's basketball will have a familiar face wearing a uniform on the bench this weekend, as Head Coach Stephany Smith announced the return of senior guard Ciara Gray to the squad on Tuesday.

Gray had announced, prior to the start of the season, that she had decided to forgo her senior season due to repetitive injuries. She spent the preseason, and the first five games, with the team in a managerial role and also traveled with the team.

Middle Tennessee, however, has missed her defensive prowess and heady thinking on the court. Smith recognized the void her absence caused and approached her on Monday about returning to the team as a player.

"I approached Ciara on Monday and told her we needed her on the court," Smith said. "Ciara told me she would love to and today was her first official practice as a player and she looked great."

In 2003-04 Gray proved to be real defensive threat. She and former player Keisha McClinic were a terror in the backcourt for the Lady Raiders.

"Losing Keisha to graduation and then Ciara really hurt us," Smith said. "We were missing someone in the backcourt who was more cerebral and had experience and knew the plays."

Gray was having a phenomenal junior campaign when she suffered a season-ending injury against Florida International on February 7, 2004. She played in 21 games and started nine averaging 2.2 rebounds and 5.4 points per game.

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