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No. 23/25 Raiders visit ECU in C-USA showdown

Middle Tennessee holds first place with three games remaining

February 25, 2014 · @MTAthletics

In the final stretch of Conference USA play, No. 23/25 Middle Tennessee (23-4, 12-1 C-USA) visits East Carolina (21-5, 9-4 C-USA) in a marquee matchup on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT inside Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C.

GAME INFORMATION

Matchup: No. 23/25 Middle Tennessee at East Carolina
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014
Time: 6 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. ET
Location: Greenville, N.C.
Arena: Minges Coliseum (8,000)

SERIES INFORMATION

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

MEDIA INFORMATION

Radio: WMOT (89.5 FM)/WGNS (1450 AM/100.5 FM)
Play-by-Play: Dick Palmer
Video Stream: C-USA Digital Network
Live Video - Live Audio - Live Stats

Quick Hitters

• No. 23/25 Middle Tennessee (23-4, 12-1 C-USA) is looking for a sixth straight victory with a visit to East Carolina (21-5, 9-4 C-USA) on Wednesday. The Raiders staved off an upset from Charlotte to down the 49ers, 48-46, last Saturday.
• All-America candidate Ebony Rowe led MT with 15 rebounds and scored all 12 of her points in the second half. Shanice Cason contributed with 11, while KeKe Stewart added 10 in the win.
• After a two week hiatus, the Blue Raiders re-entered the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls this week at No. 23 and 25, respectively.
• Middle Tennessee and the East Carolina Pirates meet for the first time on Wednesday. The Blue Raiders own a 10-0 all-time record against competition from North Carolina.
• The Blue Raiders need two more victories to secure a Conference USA regular season title. MT is just one of four programs (Green Bay, Gonzaga and Stanford) that are in the hunt for a sixth-straight championship.

What Happened Against Charlotte

• Middle Tennessee overcame a 17-point first half, its lowest scoring output of the year, to stave off the Charlotte 49ers, 48-46. Ebony Rowe pulled in 15 rebounds and scored all 12 of her points in the second half. Shanice Cason added 11 points, while KeKe Stewart finished the contest with 10 in the victory.

Series with the Pirates

• Middle Tennessee and East Carolina meet for the first time on Wednesday.
• The Blue Raiders are 12-3 all-time against competition from the Tar Heel state, including 1-0 records against NC State and North Carolina.

Scouting East Carolina

• After winning eight out of nine games, East Carolina (21-5, 9-4 Conference USA) lost a pair of road games last week. The Pirates lead C-USA in several statistical categories: field goal defense (35.4), 3-point defense (25.5), rebounding defense (35.9), rebounding margin (+8.0), blocked shots (5.38) and steals (10.96). Coach Heather Macy's squad has won 26 consecutive games in Minges Coliseum with their last loss coming on Nov. 17, 2012 to Charleston. Three Pirates are averaging double-figures with Jada Payne leading the way with 19.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Abria Trice falls next in line with 15.9 ppg, while Shae Nelson is in double-figures with 10.5 ppg. Forward Ondrea Shaw leads C-USA with 3.27 blocks per contest.

Single-Season Record Watch

Ebony Rowe broke her own single-season defensive rebounds record against Charlotte with 198 grabs this season.
• Freshman Olivia Jones' 63 steals is 17 away from breaking the freshman record of 80 held by Kim Webb.

Raiders Return to Polls

• After a two week hiatus, the Blue Raiders returned to both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls. MT is ranked 23rd in the AP poll and 25th in the Coaches poll. The Raiders are in both polls for the second time this season and for the first time since 2007.

Eyeing 1,000 Wins

• Head Coach Rick Insell is nearing his 1,000th career victory that spans his high school and collegiate days. Insell won 775 games at Shelbyville Central and has amassed 222 victories as MT's all-time winningest coach. He just needs three more victories to accomplish that feat.

Raiders' RPI Rating

• Middle Tennessee has an RPI rating of 29 in the latest report from the NCAA. Other top-100 C-USA teams include UTEP (42), Southern Miss (45), East Carolina (66) and Tulane (88).
• C-USA's RPI is 10th out 32 leagues.

Vying for No. 6

• MT is on the verge of possibly winning a sixth consecutive regular season title. • There are only three other schools (Green Bay, Gonzaga and Stanford) that are seeking a sixth-straight title.
• Over the past nine year's Rick Insell's squads are 134-16 in regular season play.

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