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Blue Raiders set to battle snow, Pioneers Saturday

Match up of Sun Belt division leaders on tap

February 3, 2012 · Athletic Communications
DENVER – Middle Tennessee women’s basketball heads to Denver through a massive snow storm Saturday to face the Pioneers in a battle of Sun Belt division leaders inside Magness Arena. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m. CST, following the men’s contest live on ESPN2.

The Blue Raiders bring a 12-game winning streak into the Mile High City after picking up a hard-fought, 70-68, triumph at North Texas Thursday. The win improved Middle Tennessee’s overall record to 18-5, including a perfect 10-0 in conference play. The dozen victories in a row currently is tied for sixth nationally with Bowling Green, Florida Gulf Coast and Florida A&M.

Four starters netted double-figure points in Thursday’s win, including a game-high 22 from junior forward Icelyn Elie. She hit 6-of-7 field goals and 9-of-10 free throws to guide MT to the victory. Freshman guard Shanice Cason added a career-high 16 points, while sophomore forward Ebony Rowe chipped in 18 and junior guard Kortni Jones contributed 11.

Middle Tennessee has won the last 12 in the series with Denver, including last season’s 71-68 triumph in Murfreesboro as part of the Sun Belt Network TV package. Head coach Rick Insell has won all eight of his meetings with the Pioneers since taking control of the program prior to the 2005-06 campaign.

Denver, under the direction of fourth-year head coach Erik Johnson, tops the league’s West Division with an 8-2 SBC and 16-8 overall ledger. The Pioneers are playing their final campaign in the Sun Belt before departing next year for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

Senior Kaetlyn Murdoch, the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Week, paces the DU offensive attack with 17.7 points per game. Rowe and Murdoch were tabbed as Preseason co-Sun Belt Players of the Year by the league’s head coaches just before the season started.

Dick Palmer will have all the action live on the Blue Raider Network on WMOT (89.5 FM) and WGNS (1450 AM, 100.5 FM, 101.9 FM).

In addition, 2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament booklets are now on sale at the Middle Tennessee athletic ticket office. Cost per booklet is $83 and includes a ticket to all eight sessions of the Sun Belt Championships, March 3-6, in Hot Springs, Ark. Fans can purchase booklets by calling 1-888-YES-MTSU or visiting goblueraiders.com.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.