MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Lady Raider senior forward Ebony Rowe became MTSU’s all-time leading scorer with 2,158 points helping her team to a 62-49 victory over Old Dominion on Saturday afternoon at the Murphy Center.
She broke the record held by former guard Kim Webb’s scoring mark of 2,148 which was set in 1987. Also, the Lady Raiders won its 16th game in a row.
It was a special night for the Lexington, KY native, and everyone within the program could not be happier for her.
“It was an unbelievable moment, and that was my real emotion,” Rowe said after the game. “The crowd was so amazing, and they wanted it so bad for me. That is why I almost cried, it was a great atmosphere. I would not want to do this anywhere but here.”
“She has been a great young lady and a great leader,” Head coach Rick Insell said after the game. “Very few of those come along. She is very humble, and that is the most emotion I have ever seen from her. I thought she played a good game tonight. She is probably the happiest person the locker room right now, and that is because they won the game today and not breaking the all-time scoring record.
“I really think we were more proud for her than she was for herself,” sophomore guard Caroline Warden said after the game. “We are such team players, and anytime anyone has an achievement. We are not selfish, and we are so happy when people excel at something. Just seeing the crowd it almost brought tears to my eyes, and we are just so happy for her. It is unbelievable what she has done.”
Webb could not be at the game today, because of a family emergency. However, the MTSU athletic department released this statement during the game.
“I was excited to break the record,” Webb said. “At the time, I did not realize I would hold the record for so long. Records are meant to be broken. Congratulations Ebony. Great Job.”
Rowe broke the record after making a couple of free throws with 5:49 left in the opening half to give the Lady Raiders a 22-12. She finished the game with 17 points and nine rebounds in the win.
Early on, the Lady Raiders started off the game with an 8-0 run after three-pointers by MTSU senior center KeKe Stewart and senior guard Laken Leonard. The Lady Monarchs closed to 8-6 after a basket sophomore guard Galaisha Goodhope.
A few minutes later, both teams were tied 12, and then the offense went to work. Rowe hit a layup to break the tie, and she was two points away from breaking the record. Then, MTSU sophomore guard Caroline Warden and freshman guard China Dow nailed three pointers.
On the next trip down the floor, Rowe was fouled going for a layup hoping to break the scoring record. However, she calmly stepped on the line and hit her free throws. The second one with 5:49 left in the opening half broke the record.
After the made free throw, MTSU head coach Rick Insell called timeout and all of Rowe’s teammates mobbed her at center court. The crowd of 3,806 gave her a standing ovation.
As for the team, it was its 16th win in a row and first over the Lady Monarchs since 2006. The last time these two teams met was in 2007 at ODU with the Lady Raiders losing 76-68.
MTSU improved to (17-3, 6-0 in C-USA), while ODU dropped to (9-11, 2-4).The Lady Raiders were led by Rowe and Warden added 13 and Stewart chipped with 11.
Could this be the week the Lady Raiders crack the Top 25 poll? Last week, the team was ranked near the top in the other receiving votes category in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll. and Insell hopes this is the week to reach it when the both polls come out early next week.
“I am going to be honest with you, I thought we should have been in three weeks ago,” Insell said. “I am not in charge of that, and I just got to be patient. If they really look at our body of work, not many teams have enough guts to go into those places and defeat them. We got to continue to play hard, and at the end of the year when we look up that this body of work we have done right now will help us with our seeding in the NCAA Tournament. I still believe we got a shot to be in the Elite 8, and I am not going to back off of that. If we get to the Elite 8 that gives us a chance to go to the Final Four, and what would be more fitting than this team to be in Nashville, right down the road from Murfreesboro.”
MTSU hits the road next week for two key C-USA games at Southern Miss on Jan. 29 with tipoff at 7 p.m. and Feb. 1 at Tulsa.
The Lady Raiders return home on Feb. 8 against Rice as part of the Play4Kay event benefiting those who have battled breast cancer.