Top-seeded MT plays UAB in C-USA Quarterfinal
Quarterfinal round matchup set for Noon CTMarch 12, 2014 · @MTAthletics
EL PASO, Texas - No. 1 seed Middle Tennessee (26-4, 15-1 C-USA) opens the Conference USA Championship with a third meeting this season against No. 8 UAB (16-14, 7-9 C-USA) on Thursday, March 13. Tipoff for the quarterfinal contest is set for Noon CT/11 a.m. MT inside Memorial Gym on the campus of UTEP. Live video of the game will be available on the C-USA Digital Network.
On Wednesday, the 20th ranked Blue Raiders completed a practice session at UTEP's Memorial Gym in preparation for MT's first appearance in Conference USA Championship. MT owns a 19-3 record in conference tournaments under head coach Rick Insell.
Date: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Time: Noon CT / 11 a.m. MT
Location: El Paso, Texas
Arena: Memorial Gym (5,200)
Overall: Series tied, 4-4
Under Rick Insell: MT leads, 2-1
In Conference Tournament: First Meeting
• No. 20/22 Middle Tennessee (26-4, 15-1 Conference USA) secured the top seed in the Conference USA Championship with the school's first regular season C-USA title.
• The Raiders join Green Bay, Gonzaga, Marist and Stanford as the only five schools nationally to have won six or more consecutive regular season championships.
• Middle Tennessee takes on No. 8 seed UAB (16-14, 7-9 C-USA) for the third time this season. The Blazers upended Marshall on Wednesday. MT won both of the previous meetings this year.
• The Blue Raiders own a 51-19 mark in their respective conference tournaments. MT has appeared in the conference title game in 10 out of the last 11 seasons. Rick Insell's squads are 19-3 all-time in conference tournament games, winning five tournament championships.
• Senior Ebony Rowe was tabbed the C-USA Player of the Year as voted on by the league's coaches, media and SIDs. Rowe earned her first Player of the Year award in her career. It marked the fifth time that a student-athlete has earned that accolade in Rick Insell's nine seasons. Rowe also garnered All-Conference USA First Team honors, as well as All-Defensive team accolades.
• Rowe leads the Blue Raiders with 21.3 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. She ranks in four NCAA Top 25 categories: eighth in double-doubles (23), 12th in rebounds per game (11.6), 24th in final points (640) and 24th in points per game (21.3).
• Murfreesboro's Olivia Jones was voted the C-USA Freshman of the Year. Jones ranks fourth nationally among freshmen with 2.23 steals per game.
• Middle Tennessee's 26 wins this season is tied for the third most in program history, all of which are under Rick Insell. The Blue Raiders have won 25 or more games in six of Insell's nine seasons.
• With a victory over Tulane, Rick Insell clinched his 1,000th career victory. Insell amassed 775 wins as head coach at Shelbyville Central (TN) High School. He has totaled 225 as Middle Tennessee's all-time winningest coach.
Conference Tournament Tidbits
• MT owns a 51-19 all-time mark in conference tournaments that spans the team's tenure in the OVC and Sun Belt.
• The Raiders own a 19-3 all-time mark under coach Rick Insell, which includes five conference tournament titles.
• Middle Tennessee has appeared in the conference tournament championship game in 10 out of the last 11 years. The Raiders are 7-3 in championship games during that stretch.
• Thursday's game will be the first time MT has ever played in a conference tournament in a different time zone.
Facing UAB for Third Time
• Middle Tennessee came out victorious in the two regular season meetings against UAB.
• MT came back from double-digit deficits in both games to claim victory. The Raiders won 61-55 in Birmingham, before closing out the home slate with a 68-58 win. The all-time series is now tied, 4-4.
Single-Season Record Watch
• Ebony Rowe broke her own single-season defensive rebounds record vs. Charlotte. She has 230 grabs this season.
• Rowe's 347 rebounds this season is fourth all-time and eight away from third.
• Freshman Olivia Jones' 67 steals is 13 away from breaking the freshman record of 80 held by Kim Webb.
• This year's senior class ranks third all-time with 100 wins. The school record is 105 held by the Class of 2007.
Reaching the Win Plateau
• With a win over Tulane, Middle Tennessee matched the 2011-12 squad for the third most wins in program history. The school record of 30 was set under Rick Insell in 2006-07.
• His 2008-09 squad boasted a 28-6 mark, which is second all-time at MT. The Raiders have won 25 or more games six times under Insell's nine-year tutelage.
Rowe Named Player of the Year
• Senior Ebony Rowe was named the Conference USA Player of the Year on Monday. She also earned C-USA All-Conference First Team and All-Defensive team accolades on Sunday.
• The honor is the first for the senior and the fifth time the award has been given under Rick Insell. Chrissy Givens and Alysha Clark earned the award twice in their career. Rowe averaged 21.3 points and 11.6 rebounds for the Raiders in the regular season.
• Shawn Jones also won C-USA Men's Basketball Player of the Year, marking the first time MT had both POYs in the same year.
Jones Tabbed C-USA Top Freshman
• Olivia Jones was tabbed the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman team. She led Middle Tennessee with 67 steals and was second on the team with a 6.8 rebounding average.
• She has notched eight 10-plus rebound performances and two double-doubles this season. The C-USA Freshman of the Year designation is the first for a Blue Raider since Ebony Rowe was named the Sun Belt's top freshman in 2011 and only the sixth time in school history that a player has garnered this award.
On the Top
• Middle Tennessee is the only school to win the men's and women's regular season titles the past two years in two different conferences.
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Jun 30, 2014: Rowe Named C-USA's Female Athlete of the Year
Jun 30, 2014: Assistant Coach Mariska Harris resigns from post
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Jun 17, 2014: Leonard earns Jim Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship
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