Blue Raiders open C-USA era against North Texas

First 200 fans receive commemorative inaugural season coin

January 7, 2014 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee (11-3) opens the Conference USA with a familiar Sun Belt foe in North Texas (6-7) on Wednesday, Jan. 8. Tip-off with the Mean Green is set for 7 p.m. inside the Murphy Center.


Matchup: North Texas at Middle Tennessee
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11,520)
Promotion: Commemorative C-USA Coin Giveaway
Tickets: Call 1-888-YES-MTSU or click here


Overall: Middle Tennessee leads series, 15-4
In Murfreesboro: MT leads series, 6-1
Last Meeting: MT 60, NT 47 - Jan. 24, 2013 - Denton, Texas
Last Meeting in Murfreesboro: MT 66, NT 64 - Dec. 27, 2012 - Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Under Rick Insell: 10-1

Quick Hitters 

• Middle Tennessee (11-3) closed out non-conference action with an 84-53 drubbing of Tennessee Tech last Thursday. Ebony Rowe paced the Raiders with 28 points and 14 rebounds to record her 11th double-double this season. That performance gave Rowe her C-USA Player of the Week honors for the third time this season.
• MT has won 10 consecutive games, which is tied for the ninth longest win streak nationally with Maryland, Stanford and Illinois-Chicago.
• During the non-conference slate, the Raiders picked up five wins over power conference programs: Miami, Mississippi State, UCF, USF and Clemson.
• North Texas and Middle Tennessee meet for the Blue Raiders first-ever C-USA game. MT owns a 15-4 all-time record against the Mean Green, while Rick Insell is 10-1 all-time vs. NT.
• Rowe ranks 10th nationally with 10.6 rpg, while 11th in the NCAA with 23.1 ppg.


Radio: WMOT (89.5 FM)/WGNS (1450 AM)
Play-by-Play: Dick Palmer
Color Analyst: Duane Hickey
Live Stream: GoBlueRaiders.com
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Commemorative Coin Giveaway 

• MT has developed a special commemorative coin to signify its first-ever C-USA home game. The first 200 fans in attendance on Wednesday will receive the coin complimentary of Ascend Federal Credit Union.

Series with the Mean Green

• Middle Tennessee and North Texas meet for the 20th time on Wednesday with the Blue Raiders holding a 15-4 edge in the all-time series.
• Head Coach Rick Insell is 10-1 all-time against North Texas.
• MT has not lost to the Mean Green since falling 69-64 on Feb. 8, 2006.
• The Blue Raiders have not lost at home to the Mean Green since Jan. 19, 2002.
• Last season in Murfreesboro, the Blue Raiders won 66-64 over NT thanks to a last second shot by Icelyn Elie. MT had much more ease on the road with a 60-47 drubbing of North Texas on Jan. 24, 2013.
• The Blue Raiders are 12-1 under Coach Insell against teams from the Lone Star State. MT has defeated North Texas 10 times and Houston twice during that stretch, while nine of the 12 wins have been by double digits. 

Scouting North Texas 

• The Mean Green (6-7) snapped a two-game losing skid with a 69-41 defeat of Cameron College on Sunday. North Texas has wins over Denver, UT Arlington, Bethune-Cookman, Abilene Christian and Kansas City. This season, NT is averaging 69.5 points, while shooting 38.4 percent (67-of-238) from the field. Opponents are boasting 67.5 ppg, while shooting 37.6 percent (67-of-235) from the field. Coach Mike Petersen is in his second season with the Mean Green after spending eight seasons as head coach at Wake Forest. Briesha Wynn is the leading scorer for NT with 10 points per contest. Sophomore Acheil Tac and junior Janis Peterson follow with 9.5 points each contest. Meanwhile, Alexis Hyder is boasting 9.1 ppg in 12 contests. Tac is the Mean Green's leading rebounder with 7.9 ppg, while Peterson is the top three-point threat with 21 makes behind the arch.

Embarking on the C-USA Era

• The Blue Raiders plays its first Conference USA game with old Sun Belt foe North Texas on Wednesday.
• Middle Tennessee has won five consecutive regular season conference titles and is seeking a sixth title. MT joins Green Bay, Gonzaga, Marist and Stanford to have won five consecutive regular season titles.
• Coach Rick Insell's squads have boasted an impressive 122-15 regular season conference record in his eight previous seasons.
• MT is 7-1 in conference openers under Coach Insell, with the lone loss coming last year vs. FIU.
• The Jan. 8 C-USA opener matches the latest date that the Blue Raiders have opened conference play, as MT opened Sun Belt play on Jan. 8, 2006 with a 68-63 win over Western Kentucky in Coach Insell's first showdown with the Hilltoppers.
• The Raiders are 0-2 in their previous inaugural conference games. MT dropped a 74-64 decision to Morehead State on Jan. 6, 1979 and an 85-63 decision to Arkansas State on Jan. 4, 2001.

Rowe Garners Third C-USA Award

Ebony Rowe was tabbed the Conference USA Player of the Week for Jan. 6 after posting 28 points and 14 rebounds in the win over Tennessee Tech.
• She has won Conference USA Player of the Week on Dec. 3 and Dec. 23. Rowe was also tabbed the NCAA Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 4.
• The Lexington, Ky., product holds the school record with 14 conference player of the week accolades. Alysha Clark was the previous record holder with 12.
• Rowe has earned Tennessee Sports Writers Association POW award four times (Dec. 3, Dec. 10, Dec. 23 and Jan. 1) this season and 11 in the past two years.

Staunch Defense

• Middle Tennessee has used a staunch defense all year, giving up just 56.4 points per game, ranking 21st nationally. The Blue Raiders are allowing their opponents to shoot just 36.7 percent, while outrebounding them with a +5.0 margin.

In the Rankings

• Middle Tennessee's Ebony Rowe ranks 11th nationally with 23.1 points per game and 10th with 11.6 rebounds per game.
• The senior joins Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike as the only to players in the country to be in the top-15 in points and rebounds average.
• Rowe's 11 double-doubles this season ranks third in the NCAA and first in Conference USA.
• Rowe leads the league with 4.31 offensive rebounds per game. Rowe is second in scoring, rebounding, minutes played and double-doubles.
• The Blue Raiders' 10 game win streak is tied for 12th nationally.
• MT is earning votes in both the AP (34th) and Coaches Poll (32nd).

Raiders' RPI Rating

• Middle Tennessee has an RPI rating of 26 in the first release of the NCAA Reports on Jan. 6.

Rowe Leading the Charge

• Senior Ebony Rowe has led the charge for the Raiders with an average of 23.1 ppg and 11.6 rebounds. Rowe ranks second nationally with 11 double-doubles. She joins Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike as the only two active NCAA players with 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds.

Building Production

• Junior Shanice Cason's 13 points vs. Tennessee Tech (Jan. 2) marked the sixth time this year the Blue Raider junior was in double figures in scoring. Cason's 13-point performance came in just 19 minutes of play in a 31-point win over the Golden Eagles. 
• Sophomore Caroline Warden provided a spark off the bench early in MT's win over Tennessee Tech (Jan. 2), scoring five quick points early in the game to jump start the Blue Raider offense. Warden played 12 minutes in the win, one shy of her season high.

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