Blue Raiders aim for 10th road victory on Saturday

Tilt with Florida Atlantic to air on SportSouth/FSN

February 14, 2014 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee (20-4, 9-1 Conference USA) takes on Florida Atlantic (13-10, 3-7 C-USA) in an 11 a.m. CT tilt on Saturday. The contest between the Blue Raiders and the Owls will be televised regionally on SportSouth/Fox Sports Net. Check local listings for correct channel.


Matchup: Middle Tennessee at Florida Atlantic
Date: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014
Time: 11 a.m. CT/Noon ET
Location: Boca Raton, Fla.
Arena: FAU Arena (5,000)


Overall: MT leads series, 14-1
Under Rick Insell: MT leads, 13-1
In Boca Raton: MT leads, 6-1
Last Meeting: MT 70, Florida Atlantic 67 - Feb. 2, 2013 - Boca Raton, Fla.


Radio: WMOT (89.5 FM)
Play-by-Play: Dick Palmer
Television: SportSouth/Fox Sports Net
Play-by-Play: Ron Thulin
Color: Tammy Blackburn
Live Audio - Live Stats

Quick Hitters

• Middle Tennessee (20-4, 9-1 Conference USA) closes out its two-game road trip at Florida Atlantic on Saturday. The Blue Raiders shot over 50 percent in the second half to knock off FIU, 65-58, on Wednesday evening. Ebony Rowe led MT with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Olivia Jones added 12 points, while junior Shanice Cason added 10 in the win.
• With the victory over FIU, the Blue Raiders have recorded 11 consecutive 20-win seasons. Nine of those have happened under head coach Rick Insell.
• A win on Saturday would give Middle Tennessee its 10th road victory of the season. It would mark the third consecutive year that MT had reached double-figure road victories.
• All-America candidate Ebony Rowe leads ranks in the NCAA's Top 25 in four categories: 2nd with 20 double-doubles, 9th with 11.8 rpg, 18th with 514 final points and 22nd with 21.4 ppg.
• MT visits the Sunshine State for the fourth time. MT holds a 7-0 record in Florida with wins at Miami, UCF, USF and FIU coupled with a tournament victory at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Naples.

What Happened against FIU

• Despite trailing in the first half by one, Middle Tennessee shot 54.5 percent in the second half to collect a 65-58 win at FIU on Wednesday. The Blue Raiders were led by senior Ebony Rowe, who notched 23 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Olivia Jones contributed with 13, while Shanice Cason added 10 in the win.

Series with the Owls

• Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic meet for the 16th time on Saturday. The Blue Raiders own a 14-1 mark in the all-time series that began in 2004.
• MT squeaked out a 70-67 win in Boca Raton last season. The Blue Raiders' only blemish was a 73-70 loss in Boca on Feb. 21, 2009. MT has won eight consecutive games since that defeat.

Scouting Florida Atlantic

• Florida Atlantic (13-10, 3-7 Conference USA) has lost six out of its last eight games. During that stretch, the Owls have wins over North Texas and Tulsa. The Owls average 77.9 ppg, while giving up 72.8 to opponents. Coach Kellie Lewis-Jay's squad is tops in the league with +9.3 turnover margin, while also ranking first in C-USA with 8.3 three-pointers per game. Four Owls average double figures. However, Chenise Miller, who boasts a team-best 13.4 ppg, has not played in C-USA action this season. Latavia Dempsey is averaging 12.4 ppg and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kimberly Smith is the Owls' top perimeter threat with a team-best 67 triples.

The Work Bench

• Middle Tennessee has utilized its bench to the fullest extent this season. The Raiders have reached double-figure bench scoring in 18 games this season. In eight games this season, MT has saw 20+ plus come from the bench.

A Tradition of 20

• In 39 seasons, Middle Tennessee earned its 22nd 20-win season with a victory at FIU on Wednesday. The Raiders have recorded 11 consecutive 20-win seasons, including nine straight under the watch of Rick Insell.

Raiders' RPI Rating

• Middle Tennessee has an RPI rating of 27 in the latest report from RealTimeRPI. Other top-100 C-USA teams include UTEP (45), Southern Miss (49), East Carolina (56) and Tulane (90).
• C-USA's RPI is 10th out 32 leagues.

Stepping Up

• This season there are five players averaging seven-plus points in games. Beyond Ebony Rowe's 21.4 ppg, the Raiders are seeing contributions from other seniors. KeKe Stewart is second on the team with 9.2 points, while Laken Leonard is adding 7.3 per contest.
• Underclassmen Olivia Jones and Shanice Cason are adding 8.7 points and 7.8 points, respectively.
• Jones leads C-USA freshmen with an average of 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals. Cason is MT's top assists leader with 64 handouts this season.

Road Warriors

• MT opened the season with eight of its first 10 victories on the road.
• With a victory over FIU, the Blue Raiders will have reached 10 road victories for the third consecutive year and the fifth time in six years under Rick Insell.
• The Raiders are visiting Florida for the fourth time this season. MT is 7-0 in the Sunshine State. The Raiders have road wins at Miami, UCF, USF and FIU. Additionally, MT won three consecutive games to claim the Gulf Coast Showcase.

In the Rankings

• Middle Tennessee's Ebony Rowe ranks 22nd nationally with 21.4 points per game and 9th with 11.8 rebounds per game.
• Rowe's 20 double-doubles is second in the nation.
• Rowe leads the league with 4.54 offensive rebounds per game. She is second in scoring, rebounding and minutes played.
Olivia Jones' 2.42 steals per game is fourth in C-USA and 42nd in the NCAA.

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