Raiders eye seventh straight win with visit to USF
Middle Tennessee and Bulls meet for first time in TampaDecember 17, 2013 · @MTAthletics
Middle Tennessee (7-3) closes out its quick two-game road trip with a visit to USF (5-4) on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.
Matchup: Middle Tennessee at USF
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013
Time: 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT
Location: Tampa, Fla.
Arena: USF Sun Dome (10,000)
Overall: MT leads series, 2-1
In Tampa: First meeting
Under Rick Insell: 1-0 vs. USF
Last Meeting: MT 71, USF 59 - Nov. 14, 2010 - Murfreesboro, Tenn.
• On Wednesday, Middle Tennessee (7-3) closes out its two-game road swing with its first ever visit to USF (5-4). MT picked up a 63-51 win at UCF on Monday for a sixth consecutive win. KeKe Stewart drained a career-best four triples, as she matched her career high with 22 points. Ebony Rowe chipped in with 20 points and 11 rebounds for her seventh double-double this season.
• MT and USF meet for the fourth time on Wednesday and the first time in Tampa. MT holds a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series that began in 1990. Most recently, MT won 71-59 over the Bulls on Nov. 14, 2010. Rowe made her collegiate debut that night with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
• Rowe leads the Blue Raiders with 22.4 ppg and 11.5 rpg. The senior forward has 1,940 points and is three away from reaching Tawayna Mucker for fourth all-time.
• Shanice Cason is MT's other double-digit scorer with 10.2 points per game. Freshman Olivia Jones follows up with 7.5 points, while KeKe Stewart has 7.1 ppg.
• USF (5-4) has lost three out of its last four games, including a 75-56 setback to No. 14/18 Oklahoma State on Saturday. Coach Jose Fernandez's squad has wins over Central Connecticut, Jacksonville, Bradley, NC Central and Stetson. The Bulls, who were earning votes in the Top 25 polls earlier this year, are boasting 73.2 points per game. USF is shooting 38.2 percent (238x623) from the field, while opponents are being held to 36.9 percent (195x528). USF is outrebounding its opponents by 9.2 boards per game. USF's leading scorers are Courtney Williams (15.9 ppg) and Tamara Taylor (11.6 ppg). Alisia Jenkins is the Bulls' leading rebounder with 9.9 boards per game. USF is a threat from 3-point range, averaging 5.3 triples each game. Taylor has a team-best 16 made three-pointers.
Series with the Bulls
• Middle Tennessee and USF are meeting for the fourth time overall and the first time in Tampa on Wednesday.
• The Blue Raiders have won two of the three previous meetings. The two squads last met on Nov. 14, 2010 when MT knocked off USF, 71-59, at the Murphy Center. Ebony Rowe made her collegiate debut in that game, where she scored 25 points and pulled in 16 rebounds. Anne Marie Lanning chipped in with 18 points.
• The series began on Jan. 12, 1990 with MT winning 79-64 in Murfreesboro. MT's only loss was 70-62 on Nov. 12, 2004.
MT vs. the American
• Middle Tennessee meets its second American Athletic Conference foe.
• The Raiders won 63-51 over UCF on Monday.
• Prior to this year, MT was 22-30 all-time against teams in C-USA and the Big East.
It's Floridays for the Raiders
• By the end of this season, Florida will be MT's second home. The Raiders make a trek to Florida on four different occasions. The previous trips been very successful as MT holds a 5-0 mark.
• The Raiders upended Miami 61-55 on Nov. 15 before capturing the inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase (Nov. 29-Dec. 1) title with wins against Southeastern Louisiana (88-71), Wright State (69-62) and Mississippi State (62-48). On Monday, MT won 63-51 at UCF.
• Florida is no stranger to Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders have an impressive 17-4 mark under Rick Insell with victories in the Sunshine state.
• After MT's visit to USF on Wednesday, the Raiders close out their Florida tour at FIU (Feb. 12) and FAU (Feb. 15).
• Middle Tennessee's three victories against power six conference opponents this year matches the most under Rick Insell's tutelage. MT has victories over Miami, Mississippi State and UCF this season. That success matches the Raiders' victories in the 2008-09 season over Indiana, Arizona and Alabama.
In the Rankings
• Middle Tennessee's Ebony Rowe ranks 16th nationally (as of Dec. 16) with 22.7 points per game and is 13th in the NCAA with 11.6 rebounds.
• The senior is the only player in
the country to be in the top-20 in points and rebounds average.
• Rowe's seven double-doubles this season ranks 10th in the NCAA and second in Conference USA.
• Rowe leads the league with 4.4 offensive rebounds per game. Rowe is second in scoring, rebounding, minutes played and double-doubles.
Stewart Scores 22 at UCF
• Despite 12 lead changes in the first half, Middle Tennessee sustained momentum en route to a 63-51 victory at UCF on Monday.
• Senior KeKe Stewart matched a personal-best 22 points, while Ebony Rowe earned her seventh double-double this season with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Stewart set a career-high with four triples and four assists in the win.
• The Blue Raiders are now 5-0 in the state of Florida this season.
Record Breaking Rowe
• Ebony Rowe ranks in the top-5 in six different career categories at Middle Tennessee. She is the record holder in double-doubles (60), rebounds (1,129) offensive boards (552), offensive rebounds (577) and free attempted (695).
• The senior is second in double figure scoring games (103) and is five away from reaching the legendary Kim Webb (108).
• Rowe has reached 1,940 points in her career and is three points shy from reaching fourth all-time held by hall of famer Tawanya Mucker (1,946).
Raiders have Depth
• Middle Tennessee has one of its most balanced teams to date in the Rick Insell era. The Raiders have six players averaging four or more points per game.
• Beyond Ebony Rowe's 22.4 points per contest, Shanice Cason is also in double-figures with 10.2 ppg. Freshman Olivia Jones follows with 7.5 points, while KeKe Stewart is totaling 7.1 points a contest. Laken Leonard (6.2 ppg) and China Dow are (4.2) also significant contributing factors.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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