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Middle Tennessee set to face rival Wednesday

Blue Raiders have won last five meetings

February 8, 2011 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee women's basketball team will travel to Bowling Green, Ky., to face long-time rival Western Kentucky at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first meeting between the two schools this season.

The two teams match up with the Blue Raiders owning a three-game lead over the Lady Toppers in the Sun Belt's East Division. Middle Tennessee has won the last five contests, including a Sun Belt Tournament Semifinal tilt last March, to take a 25-23 edge in the all-time series. The battle in the series has been close throughout the years with the average score decided by just one point in the 48 meetings.

The Blue Raiders own a 19-5 overall and 10-1 league record entering Wednesday's tip. Sophomore Icelyn Elie was named the Sun Belt Player of the Week after averaging 24.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in a pair of home wins last week over ULM and South Alabama. She currently ranks third on the team with 11.1 points per game and second with 5.4 rebounds per outing.

Freshman Ebony Rowe continues to pace the squad with 17.2 points and 10.1 rebounds, ranking second and first in the respective categories among the Sun Belt's leaders. She established a new single-season freshman school record for rebounds in Saturday's triumph against South Alabama.

Senior Anne Marie Lanning rounds out the Middle Tennessee trio of double-digit scorers with 12.5 points per game. She has converted a team-high 58 3-pointers among her 300 points on the campaign and has moved into 21st on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,066 points.

Western Kentucky has improved its play in Sun Belt action after a 0-5 start to the season to bring a 10-13 overall and 7-4 conference mark into the matchup. The Lady Toppers have won four of their last six games, all at home, and currently boast a five-game winning streak inside E.A. Diddle Arena.

WKU also has three players averaging in double figures, led by Janae Howard with 12.2 ppg. Joining her are Arnika Brown (11.5 ppg) and LaTeira Owens (10.9), while Brown is the team's top rebounder at 8.3 per outing.

Dick Palmer will call the action on the Blue Raider Network, including WGNS (100.5 FM, 101.9 FM, 1450 AM), WMOT (89.5 FM) and WBRY (96.7 FM, 1540 AM).

The meeting also is the only contest among a four-game swing for Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders will return home at 7 p.m. Saturday when they play host to FIU in the annual WBCA Pink Zone contest. Middle Tennessee will wear special pink uniforms and the annual jersey auction will be held after the game to raise money for breast cancer research.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will also hold a Diaper Drive on the upper concourse of Murphy Center prior to the game Saturday. The group will collect diapers, baby hygiene products and baby food.

Tickets are also available for the upcoming Sun Belt Tournament, to be held March 5-8 in Hot Springs, Ark., for the third-straight season. Tournament booklets are $83 and can be purchased by calling the Blue Raider ticket office at 1-888-YES-MTSU or stopping by the ticket office at Gate 1A of Floyd Stadium.

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