Rowe named Freshman of the Year, joins Lanning on First Team

Pair raise total to 22 overall since 2001

March 2, 2011 · Athletic Communications

NEW ORLEANS - Middle Tennessee women's basketball continues to add hardware to its trophy case, as Ebony Rowe was named the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, along with her joining senior Anne Marie Lanning as All-Sun Belt First Team recipients. The league office unveiled the annual award winners Thursday prior to the Sun Belt Tournament, which begins Saturday in Hot Springs, Ark.

Rowe becomes just the second Blue Raider in school history to receive the Freshman of the Year nod, earning her spot along with Patrice Holmes in 2002. Five total Middle Tennessee players have been named a conference freshman of the year, including the program's Ohio Valley Conference history.

She also becomes the first freshman Blue Raider to be tabbed to the First Team since Krystle Horton in 2004. Holmes also was selected to the team in 2002.

Rowe, a Lexington, Ky., native set a Sun Belt single-season freshman record with four Player of the Week accolades. She finished the regular season with 15 double-doubles, nine in league action, and averages of 17.3 points and 10.2 rebounds to rank second and first, respectively, in the conference statistics. She is the only player to be listed among the top-five freshmen nationally for both categories.

The Blue Raider pair are the only two players on this year's roster to start all 29 games.

Lanning, a Murfreesboro, Tenn., product is the only active senior on the young Middle Tennessee squad. She ranks second in scoring to Rowe with 13.4 ppg, raising her total to 16.0 per game in conference play to place third among the league leaders. She is among the conference top five for free throw percentage (80-of-94, 85.1), 3-pointers made (70), 3-point percentage (70-of-168, 41.7) and minutes per game (38.7). Lanning became the school's 25th member of the 1,000-point club Jan. 23 against Denver and has since risen to 20th on the list. She also ranks third in school history for 3-pointers made (240) and games played (127).

It marks the second-straight season in which two Blue Raiders were named to the First Team, joining Alysha Clark and Brandi Brown from last year. Sixteen Middle Tennessee players have garnered All-Sun Belt First Team honors, including nine in head coach Rick Insell's six seasons.

Overall, 22 Blue Raiders have collected All-Sun Belt honors, either First, Second or Third Team selections, with 15 of those playing under Insell's watch.

Middle Tennessee captured the league's East Division outright for the third-straight year with a 14-2 conference record and 23-6 overall mark. The Blue Raiders will enter the Sun Belt Tournament as the No. 1 seed from the East and face either Arkansas State or Florida Atlantic in the quarterfinals at Noon Sunday in Hot Springs, Ark.

All-Sun Belt First Team:
Anne Marie Lanning, Middle Tennessee, Sr., G
Ebony Rowe, Middle Tennessee, Fr., F

Chastity Reed, UALR, Sr., F
Kaetlyn Murdoch, Denver, Jr., F
Arnika Brown, Western Kentucky, Sr., F

All-Sun Belt Second Team:
Shanika Butler, UALR, Sr., G
Britteni Rice, Denver, Sr., G
Brianna Culberson, Denver, R-Sr., F
Jerica Coley, FIU, Fr., G
Mercedes Johnson, Louisiana, Jr., F

All-Sun Belt Third Team:
Shay Scott, Arkansas State, Sr., F
Denetra Kellum, North Texas, Sr., G
Donette McNair, Troy, Sr., F
Christian Shelter, South Alabama, Sr., F
Amy McNear, Western Kentucky, Sr., G

Freshman of the Year: Ebony Rowe, Middle Tennessee, F

Player of the Year: Chastity Reed, UALR, F

Defensive Player of the Year: Shanika Butler, UALR, G

Coach of the Year: Joe Foley, UALR

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