Raiders play Marshall for first time on Wednesday
Tipoff with Thundering Herd set for 7 p.m.February 18, 2014 · @MTAthletics
Middle Tennessee (21-4, 10-1 Conference USA) women's basketball looks to maintain its first place standing in the league when Marshall (9-15, 2-9 C-USA) visits the Murphy Center on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Matchup: Marshall at Middle Tennessee
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11,520)
Tickets: Click here or call 1-888-YES-MTSU
Overall: First Meeting
Under Rick Insell: First Meeting
In Murfreesboro: First Meeting
• Middle Tennessee (21-4, 10-1 Conference USA) returns home for its final two-game homestand of the year. The Blue Raiders picked up an 83-77 win at Florida Atlantic on Saturday.
• With five games remaining, MT remains on top of the C-USA standings. The Blue Raiders are on the verge of winning a sixth consecutive regular season conference championship.
• Ebony Rowe earned her fourth C-USA Player of the Week honor and her sixth TSWA weekly accolade this season after averaging 27.5 points and 12 rebounds in wins over FIU and FAU.
• Olivia Jones garnered league Freshman of the Week honors with 13 points and 7.5 rebounds.
• The Blue Raiders and Marshall meet for the first time in program history on Wednesday.
• All-America candidate Ebony Rowe ranks in the NCAA's Top 25 in four categories: 2nd with 21 double-doubles, 9th with 11.8 rpg, 14th with 541 final points and 18th with 21.8 ppg.
• The Blue Raiders own a 73-3 mark against conference opponents at home under Rick Insell. Overall, MT holds a 110-14 record inside the Murphy Center during the past nine seasons.
What Happened against FAU
• Middle Tennessee withstood a barrage of 12 Florida Atlantic three-pointers to down the Owls, 83-77, on Saturday. Ebony Rowe paced MT with a season-best 32 points and 13 rebounds. Rowe added the seventh best performance in school history with 14 made free throws. Her 18 FT attempts ranked fourth all-time. Freshman Olivia Jones inked her second double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Series with the Thundering Herd
• For the third time in program history and the first time since 1996, the Blue Raiders meet a team from the Mountain State.
• Wednesday's matchup is the first ever in women's basketball against Marshall.
• MT last played West Virginia on Dec. 21, 1996 in the Paradise Classic in Honolulu. MT lost that matchup 77-60. MT won the first meeting against the Mountaineers on Dec. 28, 1984, 93-67, in the Communiplex Classic in Cincinnati.
• The Thundering Herd (9-15, 2-9 C-USA) have shown progress as of late, winning two out of their last three games. Marshall came out victorious in a 71-69 win over Charlotte. The Herd outlasted LA Tech, 69-55, on Feb. 8. Marshall is averaging 63 points per game, while giving up 64.5 points per game to opponents. MU is shooting 37.4 percent (517-of-1383) from the field, as opponents shoot 38.9 percent (556-of-1428). The Herd rank fourth in the league with 4.4 blocked shots per contest. Leah Scott leads Marshall with 12.3 ppg. Post player Suporia Dickens is boasting 9.1 points, while grabbing a team-best seven rebounds per contest. Head Coach Matt Daniel is in his second season after putting together a successful 72-50 mark in five seasons at Central Arkansas.
• Ebony Rowe was tabbed C-USA Player of the Week for the fourth time on Monday. The senior averaged 27.5 points and 12 rebounds in wins at FIU and FAU.
• Rowe was also tabbed the NCAAWomensBKB POW on Dec. 4.
• Rowe holds the school record with 15 conference player of the week accolades.
• Rowe has earned TSWA Player of the Week six times this season and 13 in the past two years.
• Freshman Olivia Jones garnered her second C-USA Freshman of the Week honor with 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in two games.
• This season there are five players averaging seven-plus points in games. Beyond Ebony Rowe's 21.8 ppg, the Raiders are seeing contributions from other seniors. KeKe Stewart is second on the team with 9.1 points, while Laken Leonard is adding 7.3 per contest.
• Underclassmen Olivia Jones and Shanice Cason are adding 8.9 points and 7.7 points, respectively.
• Jones leads C-USA freshmen with an average of 7.0 rebounds and 2. 36 steals. • Cason is MT's top assists leader with 66 handouts this season.
Wins Aren't Easy
• 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.
• In 39 seasons, Middle Tennessee earned its 22nd 20-win season with a victory at FIU on Wednesday. MT has recorded 11 consecutive 20-win seasons, including nine straight under the watch of Insell.
• The Raiders completed an 8-0 mark in the state of Florida after visiting the Sunshine State on four different occasions. MT has road wins over Miami, UCF, USF, FIU and FIU.
Raiders' RPI Rating
• Middle Tennessee has an RPI rating of 28 in the latest report from RealTimeRPI. Other top-100 C-USA teams include UTEP (41), Southern Miss (49), East Carolina (61) and Tulane (81).
• C-USA's RPI is 10th out 32 leagues.
In the Rankings
• Middle Tennessee's Ebony Rowe ranks 18th nationally with 21.8 points per game and 9th with 11.8 rebounds per game.
• Rowe's 21 double-doubles is second in the nation and is tied for her personal best. She needs four more to tie Robin Hendrix for the school record.
• Rowe leads the league with 4.56 offensive rebounds per game. She is second in scoring, rebounding and minutes played.
• Olivia Jones' 2.36 steals per game is fourth in C-USA and 51st in the NCAA.
• Middle Tennessee is 17-0 this year when the Raiders commit less turnovers than their opponents.
• The Blue Raiders own a 15-0 mark when scoring in the 60-69 point range.
• MT is a perfect 21-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and is 18-2 when leading at the half.
• Rick Insell is five wins away from reaching his 1,000th career win.
Raiders in the Polls
• MT earned 53 votes in this week's AP poll (26th), while garnering 23 votes in the Coaches poll (28th).
• Middle Tennessee reached No. 21 in the Associated Press poll released on Feb. 3 and reached the Coaches poll for the first time this season at No. 25 on Feb. 4.
• The 21 AP ranking was the highest since moving to 17th in the final 2007 poll.
• The Blue Raiders were in both polls for the first time since 2007.
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More Women's Basketball NewsJul 11, 2014: Shalon Pillow joins Blue Raider coaching staff
Jun 30, 2014: Rowe Named C-USA's Female Athlete of the Year
Jun 30, 2014: Assistant Coach Mariska Harris resigns from post
Jun 27, 2014: Brinkley named recipient of NCAA Career in Sports Scholarship
Jun 17, 2014: Leonard earns Jim Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship
Jun 12, 2014: Reuter earns MVP honors at Tennessee-Georgia All-Star game