Photo courtesy of MT Athletics
Last season ended in a bit of disappointment for Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders advanced to the NIT but fell to Temple in the quarterfinals. This season, the Lady Raiders are enjoying a successful season thus far. They are 9-2 in Conference USA, placing third in the conference behind University of Texas at El Paso (19-2, 10-1 C-USA) and Western Kentucky (18-4, 9-2 C-USA). With a 15-7 overall record, they will look to advance to the NCAA tournament at the conclusion of the season.
The Blue Raiders entered the season favored to win the conference, and Olivia Jones was the preseason Conference USA player of the year. This was the eighth consecutive season they were preseason favorites, and they’re now enjoying a six-game winning streak. The win streak includes a big win at home against rival Western Kentucky. Their last lost came at home to Old Dominion on a last-second half court heave. The Blue Raiders have been very consistent no matter where they play, posting an identical 7-3 record on the road and at home (1-1 at a neutral site).
Most Valuable Players
Middle Tennessee has enjoyed stellar play all season from Brea Edwards, Ty Petty and Alex Johnson. All three players find a way to put their stamp on each game with breakout performances and supreme effort in all aspects of the game.
Edwards has been one of the best players in Conference USA this season. Edwards recently received her second National Player of the Week award as she continues to assert her dominance. The senior guard is averaging 18.4 ppg, but she is widely recognized by her numbers from behind the arc. She is eighth in the country in 3-point percentage and has knocked down a 3-pointer in 34 straight games. Edwards also leads the team with 158 rebounds.
Petty has been one of the most versatile players on the team this year. She has fantastic court vision, plays solid defense and is not afraid to drive to the basket and take contact. The junior guard averages 12.1 ppg and leads the team in steals with 36. She has an incredible 118 conference-leading assists on the season.
Alex Johnson has been nothing short of a freshman phenom this season. The freshman forward is averaging 10.9 ppg off of 52 percent shooting. Johnson leads the team in blocks and has started 21 of the first 22 games. She has flashed talent that the Blue Raiders can get excited about for years to come.
Middle Tennessee have two upcoming home games against conference foes Louisiana Tech (Feb. 11) and Southern Mississippi (Feb. 13.).
After, the Blue Raiders will have a three game road trip against the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Feb. 21), Western Kentucky (Feb. 25) and Marshall University (Feb. 27). Middle Tennessee has a win over all three opponents earlier this season.
They will finish out conference play against Florida Atlantic University (Mar. 3) and Florida International University (Mar. 5). The Lady Raiders will look to finish the season strong in preparation for the conference tournament March 8-12 in Birmingham, Alabama.
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To contact Sports Editor Connor Ulrey, email firstname.lastname@example.org.