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MT welcomes UTEP for Conference USA showdown

Blue Raiders and Miners meet for first time on Wednesday

January 14, 2014 · @MTAthletics

Wednesday features a Conference USA showdown as preseason favorite Middle Tennessee (13-3, 2-0 C-USA) hosts preseason No. 2 pick UTEP (13-2, 2-0 C-USA) inside the Murphy Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

GAME INFORMATION

Matchup: UTEP at Middle Tennessee
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11,520)
Tickets: Call 1-888-YES-MTSU or click here

SERIES INFORMATION

Overall: First Meeting
In Murfreesboro: First Meeting
Under Rick Insell: First Meeting

MEDIA INFORMATION

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

Quick Hitters

• Preseason C-USA favorite Middle Tennessee (13-3, 2-0 C-USA) returns home to host No. 2 preseason pick UTEP (13-2, 2-0 C-USA). MT is coming off a 68-51 win at LA Tech on Saturday.
Ebony Rowe inked her 13th double-double of the season and the 66th of her career with 20 points and 13 rebounds against the Lady Techesters. Rowe is tied with Maryland's Alyssa Thomas and St. Mary's Danielle Maudin for the nation's lead with 13 double-doubles this season.
• Rowe's 22.3 ppg ranks 11th nationally, while her 11.6 rpg is 10th in the NCAA.
• The Blue Raiders' 12-game win streak is tied for fifth nationally with Maryland and Stanford.
• The Blue Raiders' scoring defense of 55.1 points per game ranks 12th nationally, while the opponent shooting percentage of 35.8 percent is 36th in the NCAA.
• Middle Tennessee women's basketball has impressive 69-3 home court record in C-USA play under head coach Rick Insell. MT is also 67-6 in the month of January under Insell.

PHOTOS
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Series with the Miners

• Middle Tennessee and UTEP meet for the first time in program history.
• The Blue Raiders are 13-1 under Coach Insell against teams from the Lone Star State. MT has defeated North Texas 11 times and Houston twice during that stretch, while 10 of the 13 wins have been by double digits.

Scouting UTEP

• UTEP (13-2, 2-0 C-USA) opened the season with a nine-game win streak. That streak was snapped with a 102-77 loss at Georgia Tech. UTEP then proceeded to pick win four of their next five with the only loss coming at Texas A&M (74-58). The Miners are averaging a league-best 81.1 points per game and 43.4 rebounds per game. UTEP is giving up just 63.9 points per contest for a C-USA lead +17.1 scoring margin. Keitha Adam's Miners are led by senior forward Kayla Thornton, who is averaging 19.3 ppg and 9.8 rpg. Jenzel Nash comes off the bench to add 12.4 ppg. The Miners are boasting 4.9 blocks per game with center Kristine Vitola leading the way with 2.5 blocks per game.

Raiders' RPI Rating

• Middle Tennessee has an RPI rating of 42 in the latest NCAA report released on Monday. Other top-100 teams include Southern Miss (76) and UTEP (83).

In the Rankings

• Middle Tennessee's Ebony Rowe ranks 11th nationally with 22.3 points per game and 10th with 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 leads the league with 4.50 offensive rebounds per game. Rowe is second in scoring, rebounding, minutes played and double-doubles.
Olivia Jones' 2.63 steals per game is 41st in the NCAA and third in the league.

Stewart Tabbed TSWA Player of the Week

• On Jan. 14, Stewart earned her first ever Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Player of the Week honors.
• Senior KeKe Stewart's 11 made three-pointers vs. North Texas (Jan. 8) set new records for both MT and C-USA. Stewart is just one of 11 players in NCAA history to make 11 threes in a game. Her 26 three-point attempts are tied for the NCAA record.
• Stewart's 3-point display vs. North Texas brought her three-point shooting up to 40.3 percent for the season, good for third in C-USA.

Defensive Success

• The 55.1 points allowed per game by the Blue Raiders through the team's first 16 games are the fewest in Conference USA and ranks 12th nationally.
• MT is second in C-USA and 36th in the NCAA in field goal defense at 35.8 percent.
• The Raiders are third in C-USA and 44th nationally with a 3-point defense of 27.5.
• The Raiders have surrendered just 50.8 points per game during their current 12-game winning streak. MT is giving up just 46.5 points in the first two C-USA contests.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.