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Blue Raiders close out regular season at WKU

Raiders and Lady Tops tip at 11 a.m.

March 1, 2013 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee women's basketball closes out the regular season at rival WKU on Saturday, March 2. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. in a Sun Belt Network telecast.

GAME INFORMATION

Matchup: Middle Tennessee (21-7, 16-3 Sun Belt) at WKU (20-8, 13-6 SBC)
Date: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Bowling Green, Ky.
Arena: E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)

SERIES INFORMATION

Overall: MT leads series, 31-23
Under Rick Insell: 16-3
In Bowling Green: WKU leads series, 15-9
Last Meeting: MT 79, WKU 57 - Jan. 27, 2013 - Murfreesboro, Tenn.

MEDIA INFORMATION

VIDEO
Women's Basketball vs. WKU
Television: The Sun Belt Network (CSS Channel 27 in Murfreesboro/Nashville)
Play-by-Play: Lyn Rollins
Analyst: Debbie Leonard
Radio: WMOT (89.5 FM)/WGNS 1450 AM, 100.5 FM, 101.9 FM
Play-by-Play: Dick Palmer
Live Video (subject to blackout) - Live Audio - Live Stats

Quick Hitters

• Middle Tennessee (21-7, 16-3 SBC) closes out the Sun Belt regular season at arch-rival WKU. The Blue Raiders are coming off an 85-63 win over Troy on Thursday. MT knocked down a season-best 17 triples, matching the fourth best performance by a team in the NCAA this season. Kortni Jones tied a career high with eight makes from 3-point land as she paced MT with 29 points.
• The Blue Raiders and WKU meet for the 55th time on Saturday in a televised game on the Sun Belt Network. The Raiders have won 11 consecutive contests dating back to 2009.
• MT won its fifth consecutive SBC regular season title this week. MT joins Green Bay, Gonzaga, Marist and Stanford as the only active teams to have won five or more consecutive regular season titles.
• Middle Tennessee has reached 20 wins in nine consecutive seasons, eight of which are under Rick Insell.
• All-America candidate Ebony Rowe leads the Raiders with 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Kortni Jones follows with 16.1 and Icelyn Elie with 14.3 points per game in 28 contests this season.
• There are four Top 25 NCAA categories in which Ebony Rowe ranks. She is 14th in double-doubles (16), 20th in points (19.9), 20th in field goal percentage (54.5) and 20th in rebounds per game (10.9).

Scouting WKU

• WKU (20-8, 13-6 Sun Belt) has split the last four games, dropping contests to FIU and South Alabama. The Lady Tops fell 65-59 to South Alabama on Wednesday, allowing the Blue Raiders to clinch the SBC East division title and the league's regular season championship.
• WKU has one of the biggest turnarounds in SBC history winning 11 games better than last season.
• The Lady Toppers are boasting the league's second best offense with 69.5 points per game and are the third best shooting team knocking down 43 percent (723-of-1696) of their attempts.
• WKU has three players in double figures with Alexis Govan leading the way with 20.2 points per game. Chastity Gooch is the SBC's top rebounder with 11.4 boards per game, while chipping in with 16.1 points. Gooch is shooting 49 percent. Bianca McGee is boasting 12.8 points with 3.3 rebounds and has a team-high 30 3-pointers.
• Michelle Clark-Heard, a WKU alum, is in her first season as head coach for WKU after serving as an assistant at Louisville.

Series with the Lady Toppers

• The historic rivalry of Middle Tennessee and WKU women's basketball began in 1924-25. However, the first NCAA sanctioned meeting occurred on Feb. 26, 1977 with the Raiders capturing an 89-81 victory at home. MT holds a 31-23 edge in the series since it began in 1977.
• MT has won a series-long 11 consecutive games since Jan. 14, 2009. The Raiders' last loss to WKU was a 65-49 defeat in the Sun Belt Tournament Championship on March 11, 2008. • MT has won four straight at E.A. Diddle Arena, including a 77-62 win last season. MT last fell in Bowling Green, 85-81, on Jan. 3, 2008.
• Earlier this year, MT defeated WKU, 79-57. Three Raiders reached double figures as Kortni Jones pace MT with 28 points. Ebony Rowe collected a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Icelyn Elie scored 21.

In Sun Belt Play

• Coach Rick Insell is a remarkable 122-15 against Sun Belt competition in the regular season. His win total ranks fourth in the SBC and his winning percentage (.891) is second all-time behind Louisiana Tech's Leon Barmore.
• The Blue Raiders' 37 conference home game winning streak was snapped on Dec. 20 with a 58-51 loss to FIU.
• During the past two seasons, MT has won 32 out of its' last 35 regular season SBC games.

Statistically Streaking

• Middle Tennessee ranks in 11 top 3 Sun Belt Conference statistical categories. The Raiders are the league pacesetters in scoring margin (+11.2), assists per game (13.6) and offensive rebounds (15.5).
• MT has shot 43 percent from the field, while averaging out scoring their opponents by 14.5 points in the last 17 contests.
• Rowe, Jones and Elie are all boasting strong numbers in the past 17 games. Rowe is pacing MT with 19.9 points, followed by Jones with 18.2 and Elie with 14.7 per game.
• The Raider's 17 treys at Troy were tied for the fourth most in program history and the fourth best performance for a DI program this season. MT last hit 17 at FIU on Feb. 24, 2010.

Rowe a Naismith Top 30 Finalist

• All-America candidate Ebony Rowe became the fourth Blue Raider under Rick Insell to earn the distinction as a Top 30 finalist for the Naismith Women's Basketball Player of the Year Award.
• The junior forward ranks in four Top 25 NCAA categories and joins former players Alysha Clark, Chrissy Givens and Amber Holt as previous Raiders to earn that honor. The four finalists will be announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club in late March.

Five in a Row

• Middle Tennessee won the Sun Belt Conference regular season title with a WKU loss to South Alabama on Monday. The Blue Raiders won their fifth consecutive regular season title.
• MT plays the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 seed on Saturday, March 9 at Noon.
• Middle Tennessee joins the likes of Green Bay, Gonzaga, Marist and Stanford to have currently won five or more consecutive regular season titles.

Road Warriors

• MT has won 15 out of its last 16 road contests in SBC action, including a 14-game win streak which was snapped with a road loss to UALR on Feb. 16, 2013.
Scoring Machines
• There are three MT players that have notched 1,000 points during their respective careers.
Ebony Rowe reached 1,000 last season and currently is ninth all-time with 1,625 points.
• Oak Ridge's Kortni Jones hit 1,000 points with her 21 against North Texas (Dec. 27) and ranks 19th with 1,301 points.
Icelyn Elie became the 28th addition by reaching the 1,000 plateau at Arkansas State on Jan. 2. She has reached 1,223 in her career.
• The 2009-10 roster featured seven eventual 1,000-point scorers: Brandi Brown, Alysha Clark, Icelyn Elie, Kortni Jones, Anne Marie Lanning, Chelsia Lymon and Jackie Pickel.
• Since his arrival in 2005, Coach Insell has coached at least one season for 12 of the 28 1,000-point club members.

Experience Pays Off

• Middle Tennessee's Icelyn Elie, Kortni Jones and Ebony Rowe have all reached double-figures in 12 out of the last 17 games.
• Rowe has shot 58 percent during that 17 game stretch. Meanwhile, Kortni Jones has reached 20 or more points in seven out of the last 10 games. On the boards, Icelyn Elie has registered five or more rebounds in 17 consecutive contests.
• The tandem has put together 4,149 points in 9,859 minutes of action in a combined 325 games played.

Rick Insell Live

• Rick Insell Live presented by Ascend Federal Credit Union airs each Monday evening at 6 p.m. The hour-long program will air on WGNS 1450 AM, WMOT 89.5 FM, WNSR 590 AM in Nashville and WDUC 93.9 FM in Tullahoma. The Voice of the Raiders, Dick Palmer, will host the show each week.

Ebony Rowe All-America Campaign

• The MT Athletic Communications office rolled out the Ebony Rowe for All-America campaign.
• MT Athletics launched a Twitter account (@RaidersRowe) for fans and media to follow on the junior's progress this season, while encouraging followers to use the #RaidersRowe hashtag.
• An interactive website, RaidersRowe.com, highlights Rowe's academic and athletic successes since she joined the program.

Rankings in the Sun Belt

• Middle Tennessee leads the Sun Belt with a scoring margin of +11.2, 13.6 assists per game and 15.5 offensive rebounds per game. MT is second in four other categories: assist/turnover ratio (0.84), rebounding defense (35.5), turnover margin (+3.5) and 3pts per game (5.9). Junior Ebony Rowe leads the SBC with 5.4 offensive rebounds per game and a 54.5 field goal percentage. Rowe is third in points (19.9), second in rebounds (10.9) and minutes played (39.2). Kortni Jones leads the SBC with 4.6 assists and 2.6 3pt per game. Shanice Cason is third with 2.46 steals per game.

National Statistical Rankings

• The Raiders are in the NCAA top 75 in five categories as released on March 1. MT is 36th in scoring margin (+11.2), 48th in turnover margin (+3.5), 59th in scoring offense (68.4 ppg), 68th in 3pt defense (28.3) and 74th in field goal percentage (41.5).
• MT has four players in the top 100. Ebony Rowe ranks 20th with 19.9 points per game, 20th with 10.9 rebounds a contest and tied for 14th with 16 double-doubles. Rowe is 20th in field goal percentage (54.5), while Icelyn Elie is listed 71st (47.4). Kortni Jones ranks 33rd with 2.7 triples per game, 73rd with 4.6 assists and 96th with 16.1 points per game.

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