MT Women's Basketball announces 2013-14 schedule
Blue Raiders to face 10 teams that reached postseason in 2013August 11, 2013 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A season opener with Tennessee inside the Murphy Center highlights an impressive 2013-14 Middle Tennessee women's basketball schedule, as announced by Director of Athletics Chris Massaro and Head Coach Rick Insell on Sunday.
The Blue Raiders welcome 15 teams to the Murphy Center. This season, MT plays 10 teams that reached postseason play in 2012-13, including a pair of Elite Eight participants.
MT is coming off a 25-8 season that included a regular season and tournament Sun Belt title, along with a school-record fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. In addition to their on the court success, the Blue Raiders ranked 21st nationally in attendance last season with 4,213 fans per game.
"We are excited," noted Insell, who enters his ninth season with the Raiders. "I think this is the toughest schedule I've had since I've been here at Middle Tennessee. You open up the first four games with some quality opponents. We host a top-5 team in Tennessee, followed by great road games at Miami and Arkansas and top it off with another Elite Eight participant in Kentucky. This is a great schedule for our fans."
"With the team we've got, it's going to be a challenge. Our players have enough basketball IQ to understand that. We've got to be ready from the get-go. We are going to be focused and ready."
For the first time since 2009, the Raiders welcome Tennessee back to Murfreesboro. MT and the Lady Vols square off for the 14th time and for just the fourth meeting at the Murphy Center.
Last season, Middle Tennessee and UT went toe-to-toe with the No. 16/14 Lady Vols edging the Blue Raiders 88-81 in overtime. The Lady Vols reached the Elite Eight last season before falling to eventual NCAA Tournament finalist Louisville.
The season tip-off signals a special year in the Volunteer State. Just 30 miles down the road, the NCAA Women's Final Four will be held for the first time in Nashville. The last and only time the state of Tennessee hosted a Final Four event was in Knoxville during the 1990 season.
The Raiders then embark on a two-game road trip first opening with NCAA Tournament participant Miami on Friday, Nov. 19. The Raiders then trek to face Arkansas (Nov. 19), who reached the WNIT in 2013.
A familiar opponent, the Kentucky Wildcats, return to Murfreesboro on Sunday, Nov. 24. Middle Tennessee defeated UK, 70-58, in their last meeting at Murphy Center on Dec. 28, 2011. The Wildcats edged the Blue Raiders last season and made an Elite Eight appearance.
The next weekend, Middle Tennessee visits Naples, Fla., for the Gulf Coast Showcase. The three-day tournament is set for Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 1. Opponents for that contest are set to be announced later this month. Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee meet for the 67th time with a Dec. 4 stop in Clarksville.
Last season's Murfreesboro City Schools Education Day returns for an encore appearance on Thursday, Dec. 12 when Kennesaw State takes on the Blue Raiders at 11 a.m. MT then returns to the Sunshine State the following week with visits to UCF (Dec. 16) and USF (Dec. 18).
South Dakota State and MT square off for the fifth straight year on Saturday, Dec. 21 in Murfreesboro. A visit to Clemson on Sunday, Dec. 29 will wrap up the non-conference road schedule. Old OVC rival Tennessee Tech closes out the pre-conference slate with a Thursday, Jan. 2 matchup.
To open up their inaugural season in Conference USA, the Blue Raiders will have four of their first six C-USA games at home. Old Sun Belt foe North Texas visits Jan. 8, before the Raiders travel to Ruston, La. for a Saturday contest with LA Tech.
The Blue Raiders welcome UTEP (Jan. 15), UTSA (Jan. 22) and historic women's basketball power Old Dominion (Jan. 25), while visiting UAB (Jan. 18) and Southern Miss (Jan. 29) during the first month of league play.
Middle Tennessee opens the month of February with a visit to defending C-USA Tournament Champions Tulsa on Feb. 1. On Feb. 8, one of the nation's premier individual matchups of MT's Ebony Rowe vs. Rice's Jessica Kuster takes place when Rice comes to the Murphy Center.
For a second consecutive year, the Raiders visit FIU (Feb. 12) and Florida Atlantic (Feb. 15), respectively. Marshall and Charlotte come to Murphy Center on Feb. 19 and Feb. 22 before MT travels to Greenville, N.C. to face East Carolina on Feb. 26.
MT closes out the home schedule with UAB on March 1 before ending regular season play on March 5 at Tulane. The C-USA Championships will be held in El Paso, Texas beginning Tuesday, March 11 and concluding on Saturday, March 15.
Prior to the regular season, the Blue Raiders will host a pair of exhibition games. Middle Tennessee hosts UAH on Tuesday, Oct. 29 and Freed-Hardeman on Friday, Nov. 1. Both contests are set for 6:30 p.m. inside the Murphy Center.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
More Women's Basketball NewsApr 16, 2014: Insell announces return of Tom Hodges as assistant coach
Apr 10, 2014: Rowe named TSHF Female Amateur Athlete of the Year
Apr 9, 2014: Laken Leonard earns C-USA Spirit of Service Award
Apr 5, 2014: Rowe named WBCA All-America Honorable Mention
Apr 3, 2014: Raiders featured in Women's Final Four festivities
Apr 2, 2014: Rowe tabbed AP All-America Honorable Mention