Middle Tennessee Women's Basketball 2012 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders
Sun Belt (26-6, 16-0)

Middle Tennessee has gone through some tough times lately, but this is a program on the rise and Coach Rick Insell keeps winning games. This is a young group that still has room to grow and that will be scary for the Sun Belt in future years, but for now the Lady Raiders inexperience may be more of a problem than anything else.

Big Wins: 11/17 South Dakota State (59-49), 12/28 Kentucky (70-58), 2/2 at North Texas (70-68)
Bad Losses: 11/20 at James Madison (46-60), 12/3 Arkansas (53-59), 12/11 Georgia Tech (47-58)
Coach: Rick Insell (7 seasons at Middle Tennessee)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Lady Raiders have three consistent scorers that they will count on every game. Forward Ebony Rowe is the best scorer and rebounder on the team. She is a very efficient player on both ends of the floor and the offense will run through Rowe. Fellow forward Icelyn Elie is another great rebounder and an efficient scorer. She has more of an outside game then Rowe, but Elie can do damage in the paint as well. Guard Kortni Jones is the three-point shooter of the bunch. She hoists up about ten long balls per game. From a scoring stand point that is pretty much all Jones will do and Middle Tennessee needs her to hit some of her shots. However, Jones is also a fine passer and can lead the offense. The emergence of freshman Shanice Cason has allowed Jones to spend more time off of the ball and get some open looks from long range.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Middle Tennessee has not faced the toughest schedule this season. They lost to teams like Penn State and Tennessee and managed to beat Kentucky, but in the Sun Belt Middle Tennessee was not really tested on a weekly basis. How that translates into March remains to be seen, but obviously this group has the talent to beat some very, very good teams. The team defense leaves something to be desired, but that is mostly because the Lady Raiders will go after steals which, when unsuccessful, often leads to easy buckets for the opposition. Part of the defensive problems stem from the lack of a consistent shot blocker. If Middle Tennessee can keep their turnovers down and work a little harder on the glass, they can win some games. However, this is a team that cannot afford to give their opponents extra possessions with turnovers or rebounds if they expect to make a serious tournament run.

Probable Starters:
Shanice Cason, Freshman, Guard, 7.2 ppg, 3.9 apg, 4.0 rpg, 2.1 spg
Kortni Jones, Junior, Guard, 17.0 ppg, 4.8 apg
Laken Leonard, Sophomore, Guard, 5.1 ppg, 1.1 apg
Icelyn Elie, Junior, Forward, 13.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg
Ebony Rowe, Sophomore, Forward, 16.5 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.4 spg

Key Roleplayers:
Janay Brinkley, Sophomore, Guard, 1.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Keke Stewart, Sophomore, Center, 3.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.0 (85th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.9 (70, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.3 (41, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.2 (239, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (24, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.8 (96, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 60.2 (331, 12)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (157, 7)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (49, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.8 (200, 6)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
Middle Tennessee State    2011    NCAA        Round of 64 loss Georgia
Middle Tennessee State    2010    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Mississippi State
Middle Tennessee State    2009    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Michigan State
Middle Tennessee State    2008    NIT           First Round win over Western Carolina
Middle Tennessee State    2008    NIT           Second Round loss to Kentucky
Middle Tennessee State    2007    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Gonzaga
Middle Tennessee State    2007    NCAA        Round of 32 loss to Marist

*all team stats through 3/1

See All Women’s Basketball Postseason Capsules