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November 8, 2012Tweet Follow @GoMiddle Follow @C_Bow_Rivals
After an appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season, the Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders prepare to begin the 2012-2013 season in the Preseason WNIT Tournament.
Jones had a stellar 2011-12 campaign, in which she averaged a team-leading 16.8 points per game and 5.6 assists per game, respectively, while shooting 70% from the charity stripe. Jones led the team in scoring in 18 out of the 34 games last season, including a season high of 25 points on two separate occasions. She ranked second in the nation in 3-pointers made, whilst breaking both school and conference records in the process.
Rowe was a double-double machine last season. The second leading scorer on the team, Rowe averaged 16.2 points per game 10 rebounds per game while shooting 55% from the field. Through two seasons, no player in program history has scored more points than Ebony Rowe. On pace to go down as one of the best all-around players that the Lady Raider program has ever seen, Rowe will undoubtedly make a move further up the all-time scoring list this season.
Another player to keep an eye on this season is senior Icelyn Elie, who averaged 14 points per game last season. Elie was third on the team in scoring and second in rebounds, and is a great third option for the team to go to when needed.
Other starter include Shanice Cason, who averaged seven points per game, and Laken Leonard, who chipped in five points per game.
Overall, there are nine returning players from last season, roster. However, it is the newest addition that has people talking. Head coach Rick Insell finally got what he had been seeking for so long - a big girl. JUCO transfer Janiece Johnson will be the tallest player to ever take the court for the Lady Raiders when the season tips off. At 6'7", Johnson will provide what many have thought has been the missing piece on Insell's teams - a post presence who can push people around.
How many minutes Johnson will see is yet to be determined - she does not exactly fit the mold of the up-tempo style the Lady Raiders are accustomed to playing - but when she is in the game, opponents will have to beware.
The best returning player for the Fighting Owls have is senior forward Sametria Gideon. Gideon led the team with 11 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks per game, while shooting 43% from the field last season.
Holiday averaged nine points per game while shooting 30% from behind the arc and 78% from the charity stripe.
Wells also averaged nine points per game and shot 41% from the field while averaging three steals per game and a team-leading 5.5 rebounds.
Lisa Capellan averaged seven points per game with a 42% field goal rate.
As a team, the Fighting Owls averaged 63 points per game.
Look for Rowe and Jones to have their way with the Fighting Owls on offense, while the Lady Raider defense causes an abundance of turnovers with their press defense.
I do not expect the Lady Raiders to struggle in many, if any, areas of the game and should dominate the stat sheet when it is all said and done.
With the win, Middle Tennessee will host the next round of the WNIT tournament and face either the Memphis Tigers or the Grambling State Tigers.
Middle Tennessee NEWS