Raiders welcome South Dakota State to Murphy Center

Tip-off with Jackrabbits set for 1 p.m. CT in MyTV 30 broadcast

December 20, 2013 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee (8-3) returns to the hardwood to host South Dakota State (9-4) in a 1 p.m. contest on Saturday. The game will be televised locally on MyTV 30.


Matchup: South Dakota State at Middle Tennessee
Date: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11,520)
Tickets: Click here or call 1-888-YES-MTSU
Promotion: Santa Claus


Overall: SDSU leads series, 4-3
Under Rick Insell: 4-3 vs. SDSU
In Murfreesboro: Series tied, 2-2
Last Meeting: SDSU 63, MT 56 - 12/1/12 - Brookings, S.D.
Last Meeting in Murfreesboro: MT 59, SDSU 49 - 11/17/11 - Murfreesboro, Tenn.


Television: MyTV 30
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
Sidelines: Lena Cline
Radio: WMOT (89.5 FM)
Play-by-Play: Dick Palmer
Color Analyst: Duane Hickey
Live Video (C-USA Digital Network) - Live Audio - Live Stats


• Middle Tennessee (8-3) returns home after a successful road swing in Florida. The Raiders have won seven consecutive games after picking up wins over UCF and USF earlier this week. Ebony Rowe and KeKe Stewart had strong performances at USF. Rowe finished the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Stewart knocked down four triples and scored 18 points in the win.
• MT and South Dakota State (9-4) meet for the eighth time in program history. The two schools have battled since 2005 with SDSU holding a slight 4-3 edge. Last season, the Jackrabbits collected a 63-56 win in Brookings.
 • Rowe leads the Blue Raiders with 22.6 ppg and 11.5 rpg. The senior forward has 1,968 points and is three away from reaching Jamie Thomatis for third all-time.
 • Shanice Cason is near double-figures with 9.8 points per game. Stewart is adding 8.2 points per game, while Olivia Jones is chipping with 7.6 points each contest. 

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Attendance Third Nationally

• MT has played its three home games of the 2013-14 slate with two of those against top-10 teams in No. 4 Tennessee and No. 7 Kentucky. The premier opponents, combined with the traditional support of Blue Raider fans throughout years past, has led to the Raiders being ranked fourth nationally in average attendance per home game at 8,692. MT is only behind Tennessee (10,711) and Iowa State (10,325). MT's attendance of 11,227 is the fourth largest attended game this season. The KSU game of 10,028 is the 14th largest so this year.

Scouting South Dakota State

• South Dakota State (9-4) comes to Murfreesboro to open up a three-game road trip. The Jackrabbits have won five straight, most recently defeating Northern Illinois by a 67-50 margin on Tuesday. Junior Megan Waytashek has been in double figures for the Jackrabbits in 10 of the team's first 13 games, recording a team-best 13.2 ppg so far this year. Behind Waytashek is a balanced scoring attack from senior Steph Paluch (9.8 ppg), freshman Kerri Young (8.8 ppg) and junior Mariah Clarin (8.2 ppg). Clarin leads SDSU on the boards at 6.5 rpg, while Gabby Boever has dished out a a team-best 3.2 apg. The Jackrabbits' biggest win of the season to this point came on Dec. 11, when SDSU knocked off No. 12 Penn State in Brookings.

Series with the Jackrabbits

• South Dakota State and MT meet for the eighth time on Saturday in what has become of the premiere non-conference rivalries for the Raiders.
• The Jackrabbits hold a 4-3 edge after picking up a 63-56 win over MT in Brookings last year. Ebony Rowe led MT with 23 points and seven rebounds in the loss. Megan Waytashek had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.
• The two squads last met in Murfreesboro on Nov. 17, 2011 when MT picked up a 59-49 win. The Raiders are 2-2 against SDSU inside the Murphy Center.

Raiders Remain Perfect in Florida

• Middle Tennessee maintained its success in Florida with wins over UCF (63-51) and USF (68-62) last week.
Ebony Rowe and KeKe Stewart had strong performances in each game. Rowe scored 20 points and 11 rebounds and Stewart hit four treys and scored 22 points in the win over the Knights.
• Against USF, Rowe again had a double-double (25/11), while Stewart reached double figures with 18.
• MT is 6-0 in the state of Florida this season and 18-4 under Rick Insell.

Just a Stewing

KeKe Stewart has certainly entered her senior season on a remarkable note. She is averaging 8.2 points this season and is grabbing 3.9 rebounds per game -- both of which are personal-bests.
• Stewart's 12 triples this season is a personal best. Through her first three seasons, Stewart had only 17 triples.
• The Oak Ridge native matched her career high with four three-pointers in games against UCF and USF.

Defensive Minded

• The Blue Raiders entered the week 44th in the nation at scoring defense at 58.7 ppg, a mark they have since improved upon after allowing 57.5 ppg in the two-game trip to the Sunshine State.
• MT has allowed just 47.2 ppg in the team's first five contests of December.

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 (61), rebounds (1,140) offensive boards (553), defensive rebounds (587) and  attempted free throws (710).
• Rowe has reached 1,968 points in her career and is three points shy from reaching third all-time held by Jamie Thomatis (1,971).
• Once Rowe hits 2,000 points she will join exclusive company with Kim Webb and Priscilla Robinson.
• Middle Tennessee is 37-7 overall when Rowe scores 20 or more points.
• The senior is second in double figure scoring games (104) and is four away from reaching the legendary Kim Webb.
• The senior has 17 consecutive double figure scoring games.

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 3.5 or more points per game.
• Beyond Ebony Rowe's 22.6 points per contest, Shanice Cason is near double-figures with 9.8 ppg. Center KeKe Stewart is boasting 8.2 points per contest, while freshman Olivia Jones follows with 7.6 points. Laken Leonard (6.2 ppg) and China Dow (3.8) are also significant contributing factors.

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