The Blue Raider basketball season has come to an end, but for some hope still remains for post-season play for the women’s team.
The Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, Ebony, Rowe was the only player in the conference to average a double-double and was second in field goal percentage. B. Lambert, MT Atheltics
After winning the Sun Belt’s East Division and earning a first-round bye in the conference tournament the Lady Raiders were knocked out by Arkansas State in the quarterfinals.
However, with a 23-7 record, Middle Tennessee’s women remain a bubble team for the NCAA tournament and a likely candidate for the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Four of the Lady Raiders’ six regular season losses came out of conference, and three came to current top 25 teams, No. 5 Xavier, No. 17 Kentucky and No. 24 Georgia Tech.
Middle’s loss to Arkansas State in the conference tournament also came days after the fatal stabbing of guard Tina Stewart.
There were also individual accolades for the team. Ebony Rowe earned four Sun Belt player of the week nods, all-conference first team honors and recognition as the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year.
Rowe was the only player in the Sun Belt to average a double-double with 17.4 points per game (second in the conference) and 10.3 rebounds per game (first in the conference), she was second in field goal percentage.
She ranks among the top five freshmen in the nation in both rebounding and scoring, she is the only player to do so.
Among all players, she ranks 25 in rebounding and 50 in scoring.
Joining Rowe on the All-Sun Belt first team is senior Anne Marie Lanning. Lanning, a Murfeesboro native, averaged 13.4 points per game, no. 10 in the conference.
Lanning was second in the Sun Belt in free-throw percentage, fourth in three-point field goal percentage and second in 3s made.
Icelyn Eli, a sophomore, also earned a Player of the Week nod in the Sun Belt, joining Rowe as the only other Raider to do so.
The men’s team, also earning a first-round bye in the Sun Belt tournament, lost to the eventual champions or Arkansas-Little Rock in the conference semifinal game.
After starting the season by losing nine of their first 15 games, the men got it together down the stretch to finish second in the division and finish with a 16-16 record.
While the men will not see any additional postseason play, their season finish was very respectable.
Senior James Washington grabbed individual honors for the men. Washington recently received first team All-District honors as announced by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on Wednesday.
Washington was named to the second team All-Sun Belt after averaging 14 points per game, eighth in the conference.
He was ninth in the conference in assists per game, ranked first in free-throw percentage and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage. Washington was second in the conference in 3 pointers made.
There were other notable players for both the men’s and women’s teams this season. Jason Jones, who averaged 13.1 points per game as a sophomore, ranked 14 in the conference in points per game.
Senior Trevor Ottley and sophomore JT Sulton ranked top 20 in the conference in rebounding for the Blue Raiders.
Elie was No. 21 in the conference in scoring with 11.1 points per game and ranked 19 in rebounding with 5.9 per game. Kortni Jones was third in the Sun Belt in assists averaging 5.3 per game.
Selection for the NCAA women’s tournament selection show is Monday night at 6 p.m. on ESPN. The WNIT will also be announced Monday night following the NCAA selection. MP