NEXT WIN WILL BE 300TH FOR INSELL
NASHVILLE – Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt will renew a Mid-state matchup that has laid dormant for nearly a quarter of a century when the two teams open the 2017-18 women’s basketball season at Memorial Gym Friday.
Fans who can’t make the short trek to Nashville can listen to the broadcast on WMOT 89.5 FM with Dick Palmer calling the game and Duane Hickey providing analysis. The game will also be broadcast on SECN+. Tipoff is 6 p.m.
Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt played in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Nashville in March, 2012; however, Friday’s game is the first regular-season contest between the two since Jan. 30, 1992. The Lady Raiders lead the all-time series, 10-8, including a 5-5 mark against the Lady Commodores in Nashville.
“I appreciate Coach Stephanie White’s willingness to play this game,” Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell said. “Both fan bases deserve this game to be played. It is two good teams about 30 miles apart so there is no reason for us not to play. We are excited to play Vanderbilt. They have a strong program in an outstanding conference (SEC), and they are well-coached.”
Middle Tennessee is 32-94 all-time against current members of the SEC. The Lady Raiders are 10-23 against such foes under Insell, whose next win will be milestone victory No. 300 at Middle Tennessee. The Lady Raiders have three wins against SEC teams ranked in the Top 10 at the time of the meeting, and all have occurred under Insell.
Middle Tennessee was among teams receiving votes in the USA Today Women’s Basketball Top 25 preseason poll, and Insell believes the Lady Raiders have a chance to be a solid team in 2017-18 due to experience and leadership.
Junior Alex Johnson leads the charge. She has been named the C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, and has been named to the McClain Award Watch List as one of the top power forwards in the nation.
The Lady Raiders return four starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s 23-win team that reached the third round of the WNIT. Experience is abundance within Johnson, along with seniors Gabby Lyon, Rebecca Reuter and Abbey Sissom.
The senior trio has combined to play 292 career games and have earned 141 starts in their first three years together. Reuter has played in 100 career games, earning 49 starts. Sissom has played in 96 career games, earning 55 starts; and Lyon has played in 96 career games, earning 37 starts.
Junior mainstay Jess Louro will also be heavily relied upon, and classmate Katie Collierappears primed to challenge for the point guard positon. Third-year player Jordan Majors is back on the court after a suffering season-ending knee injury four games into last season.
Kyla Allison and Charity Savage are also back in the fold after seeing quality time as freshmen.