Raiders return from holiday break to play Clemson

MT and Lady Tigers tip at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday

December 28, 2013 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee (9-3) returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 29 with a visit to Clemson (7-5). Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CT inside Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C.


Matchup: Middle Tennessee at Clemson
Date: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013
Time: 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT
Location: Clemson, S.C.
Arena: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,000)


Overall: MT leads, 2-1
Under Rick Insell: First Meeting
In Clemson: First Meeting
Last Meeting: MT 69, CU 64 - Dec. 3, 1988 - Murfreesboro, Tenn.


Radio: WMOT (89.5 FM)/WGNS (1450 AM)
Play-by-Play: Dick Palmer
Live Stream: TigerCast 
Live Video - Live Audio - Live Stats

Quick Hitters 

• Middle Tennessee (9-3) returns to action on Sunday after picking up a 59-44 win over South Dakota State on Dec. 21. The Blue Raiders were led by Ebony Rowe, who matched a season-high 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the victory.
• Rowe was tabbed the Conference USA Player of the Week for the second time this season after boasting 24.7 ppg and 11.7 rpg in wins over UCF, USF and South Dakota State. Rowe is tallying 23.2 ppg and 11.6 rpg this season. She joins Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike as the only two players to rank in the NCAA's top-15 in points and rebounds per game.
• Clemson (7-5) and MT meet for the fourth time in program history and the first time since 1988. MT holds a 2-1 edge in the all-time series. Sunday's meeting is the first ever in Clemson, S.C.
• MT's eight game win streak ranks 12th nationally. The Blue Raiders are looking to remain unbeaten in December for the first time since 2006.

Scouting Clemson

• Clemson (7-5) has lost two out of its last three games after reeling off five consecutive wins, which includes a 68-63 victory at USF. Most recently, the Tigers fell 74-41 to Oregon State in the Duel in the Desert in Las Vegas. CU's only win in the three-game tournament was a 56-52 decision over Creighton. Coach Audra Smith joined Clemson last spring after spending nine seasons as head coach at UAB. UAB, under Smith's reign, defeated MT 71-69 in Birmingham on Dec. 19, 2005. Smith's Clemson squad is averaging 58.2 points per game. CU opponents are tallying 59.7 ppg. The Tigers are shooting 41.1 percent (259-of-630), while knocking down 32.1 percent (50-of-156) from three-point range. Quinyotta Pettaway is the leading scorer. She is averaging 10.4 ppg with 6.3 rpg after coming off the bench. Charmaine Tay is totaling 9.1 ppg, while Kelly Gramlich is scoring 8.9 ppg with a team-best 28 treys.

Series with the Lady Tigers

• Middle Tennessee and Clemson meet for the fourth time and the first since Dec. 3, 1988. MT won that meeting on Dec. 3, 69-64 inside the Murphy Center.
• MT won 90-88 in a neutral site meeting on Nov. 29, 1985, while CU won the first meeting 66-63 in a neutral site game on Dec. 18, 1980.
• Clemson Hall of Famer Jim Davis coached at MT for one season, 1986-87, leading the Raiders to a 19-8 record and an OVC title. Davis spent 18 seasons at Clemson, winning two ACC tournament titles and producing an overall record of 355-197.

More Honors for Rowe

• For the second time this season, Ebony Rowe was tabbed the C-USA Player of the Week on Dec. 23. Rowe averaged 24.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in MT's wins over UCF, USF and South Dakota State. Rowe earned C-USA POW honors on Dec. 3 for her MVP performance at the Gulf Coast Showcase. Rowe surpassed Alysha Clark for a school record 13 player of the week honors.
• Additionally, Rowe was tabbed the Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Player of the Week for the third time on Dec. 23. The Lexington, Ky., product previously earned the award on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10. She has earned this distinction 10 times during the past two years.

MT vs. the ACC

• Middle Tennessee meets their second ACC opponent this season on Sunday.
• Earlier this year, the Blue Raiders won 61-55 at Miami to pick up the first win of the season. Ebony Rowe had 19 points and nine rebounds in the victory.
• MT is 1-4 all-time under coach Rick Insell against Atlantic Coast Conference foes. The Raiders are 5-8 overall against ACC opponents.

December to Remember

• Middle Tennessee is looking to go undefeated in December for the third time in program history. The Raiders went 4-0 in 1976 under Pat Jones and 6-0 under Rick Insell in 2006. A win Sunday would mark the most victories for MT in the month of December.
Ebony Rowe is averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds this month. KeKe Stewart follows up with 12.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in five games. Shanice Cason is also in double figures with 10 points per contest. Freshman Olivia Jones adds a balanced attack with 5.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in December.
• MT is averaging 64.8 ppg, while holding opponents to 46.7 ppg. The Raiders are forcing 21.8 turnovers per contest during that stretch.

Defensive Minded 

• The Blue Raiders rank 27th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 57.1 ppg. MT is 58th nationally with a field goal percentage defense of 36.2.
• MT has allowed just 46.7 ppg in the team's first six contests of December. During that span, opponents are shooting just 33.4 percent.

In the Rankings

• Middle Tennessee's Ebony Rowe ranks 12th nationally with 23.2 points per game and 11.6 rebounds per game.
• The senior joins Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike as the only two players in the country to be in the top-15 in points and rebounds average.
• Rowe's nine double-doubles this season ranks second in the NCAA and first in Conference USA.
• With 278 points this season, Rowe ranks fifth nationally.
• Rowe leads the league with 4.33 offensive rebounds per game. Rowe is second in scoring, rebounding and minutes played.
• The Blue Raiders' eight game win streak ranks 12th nationally.

Record Breaking Rowe 

Ebony Rowe ranks in the top-5 in nine different career categories at Middle Tennessee. She is the record holder in double-doubles (62), rebounds (1,153) offensive boards (560), defensive rebounds (593) and attempted free throws (723).
• Rowe is second in made field goals (784) and fourth in free throws made (425).
• The senior is second in double figure scoring games (105) and is three away from reaching the legendary Kim Webb.
• Rowe has reached 1,997 points in her career ranking third all-time. She is 12 points shy from reaching second held by Priscilla Robinson (2,009).
• Once Rowe hits 2,000 points she will join exclusive company with Kim Webb and Priscilla Robinson.
• Middle Tennessee is 38-7 overall when Rowe scores 20 or more points.

Raiders' RPI Rating

• Middle Tennessee's has an RPI rating of 19 as of Friday, Dec. 27, according to Real Time RPI. The Blue Raiders, who are 9-3, boast strength of schedule of 22nd in the nation.

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