The Middle Tennessee Blue Raider women’s team has reached the midpoint of its 2014-15 season and are looking to top last year’s conference championship run and NCAA tournament selection.
On that path to reach another C-USA championship, MTSU became just the 31st NCAA Division I women’s basketball program to register 800 all-time victories after picking up a 76-68 win over UAB on Jan. 4, 1015.
Middle Tennessee has had multiple other bright spots, earning wins over Miami, Ole Miss, Clemson and Xavier to cap off its milestone win over UAB.
Along the way though, the Blue Raiders have suffered minor setbacks against Kentucky, Arizona State, Arkansas, South Dakota State and Southern Miss in what has been another challenging non-conference schedule.
The Blue Raiders started the season with a road loss against Arizona State, failing to keep up with the Sun Devils in an 81-67 defeat. With Middle Tennessee sitting at 2-2 on the season following a loss to Arkansas and wins over Ole Miss and Miami, the Blue Raiders would add back-to-back wins over Clemson and Xavier.
After losing two straight road games at Kentucky and South Dakota State, MTSU went on to win five games in a row and six out of their last seven. Of those games, the Blue Raiders went 4-1 out of their five conference games during that span, including a 101-69 victory over Florida Atlantic.
The Blue Raiders sit in second place in their quest for another C-USA title, even though MTSU has already notched five losses on the season compared to the four total losses the Blue Raiders had all of last year.
Middle Tennessee has put together a 4-1 record in conference play, trailing only No. 24 Western Kentucky’s perfect conference record of 5-0. Overall, MTSU is 10-5 on the year, with the Blue Raiders holding a 5-2 record at home and 5-3 record on the road.
As a team, the Blue Raiders are outscoring their opponents by a total of 101 points in the first half over their first 15 games. MTSU has averaged 74 points per game while converting an average of 7.6 three pointers per contest.
Middle Tennessee has also been strong with their ball movement and rebounding, averaging 39 rebounds per game and dishing out an average of 15 assists per contest.
MTSU has been led by sophomore Olivia Jones, who has greatly improved since last season. Jones is leading the team with 21.2 points per game, and is also averaging 9.3 rebounds per contest. Jones has proven to be solid all season for the Blue Raiders, earning seven double-doubles in 15 games.
Another stellar player to this point for the Blue Raiders is senior transfer Cheyenne Parker. Parker has started in nine of the 12 games she has played in, averaging a near double-double with 16.8 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per contest.
Ty Petty has also been a solid addition to the starting roster for the Blue Raiders. As the starting point guard, Petty has a team-high 63 assists in the first half of the season, and is also averaging 9.6 points per game this year.
Middle Tennessee has gotten past a tough non-conference schedule and will look to continue its conference slate. Entering Thursday’s matchup against Old Dominion, the remainder of the Blue Raiders’ scheduled opponents have a combined 104-106 record.
The Blue Raiders’ next game is at Old Dominion on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT in Norfolk, Virginia.
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To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email email@example.com