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Three Raiders earn preseason honors, MT picked first in SBC East

Elie, Jones and Rowe garner preseason All-Sun Belt

October 23, 2012 · @MTAthletics

NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Middle Tennessee women's basketball program was picked to win the Sun Belt East Division and three Blue Raiders earned preseason accolades, as announced by the league office on Tuesday.

Icelyn Elie, Kortni Jones and Ebony Rowe earned first team preseason All-Sun Belt distinction. The trio becomes the first set of Blue Raiders to grab three spots on the first team. 

Elie was an All-Sun Belt Second Team and All-Sun Belt Tournament Team selection a year ago. The forward returns from a junior campaign that saw her collect nine double-doubles. The Lebanon native ranked second on the squad with 8.0 rebounds per game and third in scoring with 13.7 points per game. She ranked 48th nationally last season with a 48.9 field goal percentage.

Jones garnered a preseason accolade after being selected first team All-Sun Belt and All-Tournament team. The Oak Ridge set single season school and conference records for 3-pointers made (115) and attempted (329). Jones was second nationally and tied for 10th on the all-time single season NCAA chart for triples made. Last season, Jones averaged a team-best 16.8 points per game, while dishing out a team-high 153 assists.

After two strong seasons, Rowe returns with expectations high in 2012-13. The junior forward became the 26th Blue Raider to eclipse 1,000 points at Middle Tennessee. She moved to 22nd on the list with 1,069 points and amassed the most points by any player in program history through her sophomore campaign. Rowe averaged a double-double in 2011-12 by tallying 16.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. She finished with 31 games in double figures and registered 16 double-doubles.

The Raiders earned 10 out of 11 possible first place votes for 65 points and predicted to place first in the Eastern division. FIU earned one first place vote to garner second place. South Alabama (45), Florida Atlantic (29), Western Kentucky (26) and Troy (12) rounded out the East division predictions.

UALR garnered first place in the West division with 10 first place votes and 54 overall points. Arkansas State was slated to finish second with 39 points and one first place vote. North Texas (33), ULM (24) and Louisiana (15) rounded out the predicted order of finish.

MT is coming off a strong 26-7 season that saw a perfect 16-0 mark in league play. Last season, the Blue Raiders made their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 15th overall.

Three national publications (Athlon, Lindy's and Street & Smith's) have listed the Blue Raiders in their respective preseason Top-25 rankings.

The Blue Raiders play two exhibition contests, beginning with Alabama-Huntsville on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 5:30 p.m. and closing out the preseason against Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

MT opens the regular season against Kennesaw State in the Preseason WNIT on Friday, Nov. 9 at 5:15 p.m.

Men's and women's basketball combo pack season tickets are just $199. Women's season tickets are also sold individually for $100. Season tickets for Middle Tennessee women's basketball games are on sale now by calling the MTSU Ticket Office at 1-888-YES-MTSU or purchasing online.

Blue Raiders Selected for Six TV Appearances

MT women's hoops will appear in six televised games this season. The first comes on Dec. 9 at Kentucky and will air on Fox Sports South. MT then appears on ESPN 3 four times: Nov. 11 - Kennesaw State or Memphis, Dec. 6 - Xavier, Jan. 27 - Western Kentucky and Feb. 20 - South Alabama. The Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky game on March 2 is scheduled for a 11am tip on the Sun Belt Network. 

2012-13 Women's Basketball 

Preseason All-Conference First Team

Taylor Gault (UALR, Sophomore, Guard)
Jerica Coley (FIU, Junior, Guard)
Icelyn Elie (Middle Tennessee, Senior, Forward)
Kortni Jones (Middle Tennessee, Senior, Guard)
Ebony Rowe (Middle Tennessee, Junior, Forward)

Preseason All-Conference Second Team

Taylor Ford (UALR, Junior, Guard)
Jane Morrill (Arkansas State, Junior, Forward)
Chenise Miller (Florida Atlantic, RS-Junior, Forward)
Finda Mansare (FIU, Senior, Forward)
Mansa El (South Alabama, Senior, Guard)

Preseason All-Conference Third Team

Janette Merriex (UALR, Senior, Guard/Forward)
Jasmine Shaw (Louisiana-Monroe, Junior, Guard)
Mary Nixon (South Alabama, Senior, Guard)
Chastity Gooch (WKU, Sophomore, Forward)
Alexis Govan (WKU, Sophomore, Guard)

2012-13 Women's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year

Jerica Coley (FIU, Junior, Guard)

2012-13 Women's Basketball Predicted Order of Finish

EAST DIVISION - Coaches' Votes in Parentheses

1. Middle Tennessee - 65 pts (10)2. FIU - 54 pts (1)
3. South Alabama - 45 pts
4. Florida Atlantic - 29 pts
5. Western Kentucky - 26 pts
6. Troy - 12 pts

WEST DIVISION

1. UALR - 54 pts (10)
2. Arkansas State - 39 pts (1)
3. North Texas - 33 pts
4. ULM - 24 pts
5. Louisiana - 15 pts

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