IRVING, Texas - A pair of MTSU players racked up more accolades, as announced by Conference USA on Monday. Senior Ebony Rowe was tabbed the C-USA Player of the Year, while Olivia Jones earned Freshman of the Year honors.
The Player of the Year honor is the first for Rowe in her four-year collegiate career. This is the fifth time a player has earned the honor under Rick Insell with Chrissy Givens and Alysha Clark earning the award twice in their respective careers. The C-USA Freshman of the Year designation is the first for a Blue Raider since Ebony Rowe was named the Sun Belt's top freshman in 2011 and only the sixth time in school history that a player has garnered this award. Three of those awards were in the Ohio Valley Conference and two in the Sun Belt.
Jones, who garnered All-Freshman honors on Sunday, led MTSU with 67 steals and was second on the team with a 6.8 rebounding average. Jones' 8.1 points per contest was fourth on the Blue Raider squad. Her steals of 2.2 per game was fourth nationally among freshmen and fourth overall in Conference USA. Jones' rebounding total was the best for a Conference USA freshman. She has notched eight 10-plus rebound performances and two double-doubles this season.
A two-time Freshman of the Week honoree this season, Jones was selected to the All-Tournament team at the Gulf Coast Showcase after averaging 11.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in two games.
Rowe, a unanimous All-Conference USA first team selection and All-Defensive team honoree, garnered her first league Player of the Year award. She led Middle Tennessee in points, rebounds, field goals, field goal percentage blocks and minutes played this season. She ranked fifth in the NCAA with 23 double-doubles, 13th with 11.6 rebounds per game, 19th with 641 final points and 25th with 21.4 points per game. The Lexington, Ky., native led Conference USA with 128 offensive rebounds, while ranking second in points, rebounds, defensive rebounds, double-doubles and minutes played. Her 212 defensive rebounds was a school record. Rowe currently holds 13 school records, including becoming Middle Tennessee's all-time leading scorer and rebounder this season.
She is one of nine active NCAA players with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds and was a four-time Conference USA Player of the Week selection this year. On Dec. 3, Rowe earned NCAA National Player of the Week honors for her MVP performance at the Gulf Coast Showcase. Academically, Rowe earned Capital One Academic All-America second team and C-USA All-Academic team honors. Rowe joins Jennifer McFall, Priscilla Robinson and Patrice Holmes as the only Blue Raiders to garner first team All-Conference honors in all four years of their respective college careers.
The 22nd ranked Blue Raiders open the Conference USA Championship in the quarterfinal round on Thursday. MTSU will play at Noon CT/11 a.m. MDT in El Paso, Texas. Middle Tennessee will take on the winner of the No. 16 Marshall/No. 9 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 8 UAB matchup.