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Fri, Aug 1, 2014

HALE: Rowe to leave an unbelievable legacy

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UPDATE: Click here to view a photo gallery of Saturday night's game.

Although women’s basketball has continued to grow the past decade, it hasn’t always been the most popular sport in terms of being followed by men.

I guess I’ve always been an exception to the rule. Even in my college days (shortly after the wheel was invented) I attended MTSU games from time to time when Larry Joe Inman was the Lady Raiders coach.

Inman had this one special player who seemed to be a player before her time. She was from nearby Smyrna and did things on the basketball court that I’d never seen from a female player.

Her name was Kim Webb, a dynamic, electrifying and incredibly talented guard who became the all-time leading scorer in MTSU history with 2,148 points.

From the moment Webb donned a Lady Raider uniform, she made her presence felt and was as dominant as any player in the collegiate game.

She played at MTSU from 1984-87, and her all-time scoring record has stood ever since. She could have played anywhere in the nation, but she chose MTSU.

However, all records are eventually made to be broken, and MTSU senior forward Ebony Rowe was set to eclipse Webb’s record Saturday evening – needing just eight points against Old Dominion to move her name to the top of the list.

Like Webb, Rowe made her presence felt as soon as she put on a Lady Raider uniform four years ago. She has helped lead MTSU to three straight NCAA tournament appearances and a fourth consecutive trip seems imminent.

Her accolades are many, from player of the week awards, to all-conference honors. Add to the fact she is a brilliant student majoring in physics (I struggle to just spell the word, much less study it) she is one special person.

However, her crowning achievement of becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer is magnified  because of the person she will pass.

Webb is a special person and was a phenomenal player in her own right. If you’re mentioned with the likes of her, you have left an unbelievable legacy.

Webb is the only women’s player in school history to have her jersey number (25) retired.

It’s about time the university starts hanging a few other jerseys in the rafters, whether they’re retired or not. 

I’ve been fortunate to cover all but four of the top 25 scorers in MTSU history. I was also fortunate to watch the other four in the stands.

One of the things that will always make Rowe’s record so special to her is she has played in front of one of the best fan bases in women’s college basketball.

Unfortunately, Webb and many others didn’t receive the backing that Rowe has been afforded the past three-plus years.

But women’s basketball continues to evolve and grow in popularity, and it’s players like Rowe who are seeing to it.

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Basketball, Ebony Rowe, Lady Raiders, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Sports
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