Blue Raiders face UTSA for first time on Wednesday

Middle Tennessee puts 14-game win streak on the line

January 21, 2014 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee (15-3, 4-0 C-USA) returns home for two games and opens up the home stand against UTSA (11-6, 2-2 C-USA). The Blue Raiders and Roadrunners tip-off at 7 p.m. inside the Murphy Center on Wednesday.


Matchup: UTSA at Middle Tennessee
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11,520)
Tickets: Call 1-888-YES-MTSU or click here
Promotion: Free $5 student voucher (first 250 students) and Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night


Women's Basketball vs. UTSA
Overall: First Meeting
In Murfreesboro: First Meeting
Under Rick Insell: First Meeting


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

Wednesday's Promotion

The first 250 MTSU students in attendance on Wednesday will receive a $5 food voucher. Faculty and staff can get a discounted ticket for $5 by clicking here. Use the password TRUEBLUE. 

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Quick Hitters

• Middle Tennessee (15-3, 4-0 C-USA) returns to Murphy Center for a two-game home stand with contests against UTSA and Old Dominion. The Blue Raiders overcame a 12-point deficit to knock off UAB 61-55 on Saturday. Forward Ebony Rowe had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
• Rowe (2,115) is just 34 points away from becoming the school's all-time leading scorer. She is currently tied for the nation's lead with 15 double-doubles. Rowe ranks 18th in the NCAA with 22 ppg and 12th with 11.4 rpg.
Olivia Jones was tabbed the Conference USA Freshman of the Week after averaging 15.5 points and 10 rebounds in wins over UTEP and UAB.
• Middle Tennessee's 14-game win streak is tied for the fourth longest nationally with Maryland.
• The Raiders are receiving 41 votes in the AP Top 25 poll for 26th, while earning 26 votes for 27th in the USA Today Coaches poll.

What Happened vs. UAB

• Despite trailing by 12 in the first half, the Blue Raiders used a strong second half to defeat UAB 61-55 last Saturday. Ebony Rowe registered 16 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Senior Laken Leonard added 15 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Olivia Jones chipped in with 14 points and nine boards.

Raiders Ready

• Rick Insell has a total record of 69-6 in the month of January at MT and has four undefeated January's which include: 2006-07, 2008-09, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Defensive Success

• The 55.3 points allowed per game by the Blue Raiders through the team's first 18 games are the fewest in Conference USA and ranks 11th nationally.
• MT is second in C-USA and 51st in the NCAA in field goal defense at 36.5 percent.
• MT is second in C-USA and 64th nationally with a 3-point defense of 28.6.
• Opponent miscues have been mantra for the Blue Raiders during the streak, as MT has forced 20.6 opponent turnovers, giving up just 15.2 for a +5.4 turnover margin.

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 3.8 or more points per game.
• Beyond Ebony Rowe's 22 points per contest, KeKe Stewart is boasting 9.6 ppg. Freshman Olivia Jones is near double figures with 9.3 ppg, while Shanice Cason follows with 8.3. Laken Leonard (6.7 ppg) and China Dow (3.8) are also significant contributing factors.

In the Rankings

• Middle Tennessee's Ebony Rowe ranks 18th nationally with 22 points per game and 12th with 11.4 rebounds per game.
• Rowe's 15 double-doubles is currently tied for first nationally with three others.
• Rowe leads the league with 4.56 offensive rebounds per game. Rowe is second in scoring, rebounding and minutes played.
Olivia Jones' 2.72 steals per game is third in C-USA and 27th in the NCAA.

Series with the Roadrunners

• Middle Tennessee and UTSA meet for the first time in program history.
• MT has played on the home floor at UTSA before, collecting victories over St. Bonaventure and Kansas State in the UTSA Holiday Classic on Dec. 20-21, 2010.
• The Blue Raiders are 14-1 under Coach Insell against teams from the Lone Star State. MT has defeated North Texas 11 times, Houston twice and UTSA once during that stretch, while 11 of the 14 wins have been by double digits.

Scouting UTSA

• UTSA (11-6, 2-2 C-USA) enters Wednesday's showdown fresh off an emotional 58-56 victory at North Texas that saw senior guard Miki Turner hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Roadrunners have won nine of their last 11 games, including a stretch of two consecutive overtime wins. UTSA's two losses have come to the hands of Tulsa and Southern Miss. UTSA is averaging 62.9 ppg, while giving up just 62.7 ppg. The Roadrunners are shooting 37.8 percent (358-of-946) from the field this season. Kamara King leads UTSA with 15.2 ppg and a team-best 28 triples. Mannasha Bell is the top rebounder with 5.4 boards per game. Regining C-USA Volleyball MVP McKenzie Adams recently joined the team. She is boasting 5.0 points and 3.9 rebounds in seven games played. Head Coach Lubomyr Lichonczak is in his first season at the helm after spending 11 years as an assistant coach at UTSA.

Raiders' RPI Rating

• Middle Tennessee has an RPI rating of 27 in the latest RealTime RPI report. Other top-100 C-USA teams include East Carolina (80), UTEP (83) and Southern Miss (100).

Jones Garners Freshman POW

• Middle Tennessee's Olivia Jones was tabbed the Conference USA Freshman of the Week on Jan. 20 for her performances against UTEP UAB.
• The guard averaged 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds, while picking up seven steals and five assists in the two contests.
• Jones anchored her first career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds in MT's 69-58 win over UTEP. She made 5-of-8 field goals. Jones dished out three assists and grabbed three steals against the Miners.
• This is Jones' first C-USA Freshman of the Week honor.

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