Blue Raiders back in Pink SaturdayFebruary 11, 2011 · Athletic Communications
Middle Tennessee returns to the court after clinching a share of the Sun Belt's East Division with Wednesday's 72-66 triumph at rival Western Kentucky, the sixth consecutive victory in the series. The Blue Raiders own the league's top overall record at 20-5 and a four-game cushion the division race with an 11-1 mark. It marks the eighth consecutive season in which Middle Tennessee has won at least 20 games.
Anne Marie Lanning lifted the Blue Raiders to the win, tallying a game-high 25 points to go along with seven assists. Freshman Ebony Rowe, who registered her 13th double-double of the season with 21 points, 18 in the second half, and 13 rebounds, joined her.
The pair continues to pace the squad in scoring on the season with Rowe averaging a team-best 17.3 points, while Lanning pours in 13.0 per outing. Sophomore Icelyn Elie rounds out a trio in double figures with 10.9 per game.
Rowe is also the top rebounder for MT with 10.2 per game with Elie ranking second at 5.4.
FIU is the only team to knock off the Blue Raiders in league action thus far, earning a 62-59 triumph in Miami Jan. 29. Head coach Cindy Russo, in her 31st season on the Panther bench, brings a squad to Murfreesboro that has won five straight, including the win over Middle Tennessee.
FIU is tied with Western Kentucky for second place in the East Division with a 7-5 conference mark, while it carries a 12-14 overall ledger.
Freshman Jerica Coley leads the Panthers with 15.8 ppg and is joined in double digits by Rakia Rodgers at 13.7 and Michelle Gonzalez with 10.4 points per game, respectively. Coley is also FIU's top rebounder with 6.3 per outing.
The Blue Raiders lead the all-time series 13-8, while Rick Insell is 8-3 against the Panthers in his career.
A win would give Middle Tennessee the East Division outright and clinch at least a top-two seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Tournament. Tickets are available for the 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 ticket office at 1-888-YES-MTSU or stopping by Gate 1A of Floyd Stadium.
Dick Palmer and Duane Hickey will call at the action live on the Blue Raider Network, WGNS (100.5 FM, 101.9 FM, 1450 AM), WMOT (89.5 FM) and WBRY (96.7 FM, 1540 AM).
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is sponsoring a Diaper Drive Saturday and asking fans to bring diapers, baby hygiene products and baby food among other necessary items.
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