Lady Raider player Ebony Rowe (9) battles an opponent from the University of Little Rock-Arkansas during the Feb. 12, 2012, Power for Pink game at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photos courtesy of MTSU/B. Lambert)
The Lady Raiders look to increase their winning streak as they honor those who are fighting breast cancer during their matchup against Troy.
The MTSU lady's basketball team will face off against the Trojans on Sunday, Feb. 10, in Murfreesboro. Tip-off for this weekend's game at the Murphy Center is 2 p.m.
The Lady Raiders opened up this week’s action against an Arkansas State Red Wolves team that played them close in the first meeting earlier in the season.
During that Jan. 2 meeting, MTSU senior guard Kortni Jones scored on a layup with 6.1 seconds left in the game to give the team a hard fought 72-70 victory.
“We had to change our focus,” Jones said about the team’s play since that win. “I think we got a wake-up call.”
Since that win, the Lady Raiders have won the last nine games by an average of 16.1 points.
MTSU head coach Rick Insell credits the improved play to a meeting the team had before that game.
“I called the team together, and told them we were not in the top three in any Sun Belt Conference statical category,” Insell said.
The Lady Raiders are now in the top three in the Sun Belt Conference in 11 of the 21 categories, which only includes statistics from this season’s conference games, not the overall standings.
Insell also credits the improved defense play and rebounding from the Lady Raiders during the streak.
“We are playing better defense, as we are holding teams under their scoring average,” Insell said. “We are also rebounding better.”
No matter the outcome, the game against Troy will be special one, as the team will be taking part in the Play 4Kay and Power of Pink event, he said.
During the event, Middle Tennessee Medical Center will be taking donations for breast cancer research. After the game, the pink jerseys wore by seniors Jones, forward Ebony Rowe, and center Dymon Raynor will be up for auction.
Play 4Kay is a Kay Yow Cancer Fund initiative that allows basketball coaches from across the nation to raise awareness and funds for cancer research on the court.
Yow won more than 700 games during her 38-year coaching career, including 32 seasons at North Carolina State. During that time, the Wolfpack qualified for 20 NCAA Tournaments, made the Sweet 16 11 times, and advanced to the Final Four in 1998.
Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. She passed away in January 2009 after her third bout with the disease.
Insell said he has fond memories of the relationship, he shared with Yow.
“I take a lot of pride in the event,” Insell said. “Yow was a friend of mine. When I first got the job at MTSU, on my first recruiting trip, she was the first one to congratulate me. She gave me creditability with the college coaches.
"I always liked to sit in the recruiting section, and someone like Pat Summit and Yow would sit next to you. She was one of the coaches that was happy for me when I got into college coaching. She was not envious of me like some other coaches were of me. She gave me a pep talk, and I could say she was a friend of mine. She was a good woman, and more young coaches should aspire to be like Kay Yow.”