Lady Blue Raiders Look To Keep MTSU In Spotlight


A day after what many are calling one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tourney history , the Middle Tennessee  women will be making their 18th NCAA Tournament appearance when it faces No. 5 seed Florida State in College Station, Texas Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

The Blue Raiders (24-8) earned Conference USA’s automatic berth into the field of 64 by rolling through the tournament in dominating fashion. Middle Tennessee, which earned a No. 12 seed, will play in the Dallas Region of the 2016 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The game will be televised on ESPN 2 at noon.

The Blue Raiders have won six straight and 17 of their last 19 overall.

Florida State (23-7) comes in ranked No. 10 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 17 in the Associated Press poll.

The winner of Saturday’s game will face the winner of No. 4 Texas A&M vs. No. 13 Missouri State, Monday. Middle Tennessee and Florida State have met two previous times with the teams splitting those contests. The last meeting took place Nov. 28, 1993 with Middle Tennessee claiming a 66-43 win in Murfreesboro.

“I’m very excited about taking this team into the NCAA Tournament,” said Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell said. “We have taken some good teams to the tournament from Middle Tennessee, but I am as confident about this one as any we have had. Only 64 teams get to play in this tournament out of (349) Division I teams so yes, I am very excited.”

Insell said he was pleased with the team’s seed and said it was in the range he anticipated.

“I thought we had done enough to earn an 11 or 12 seed so I am pleased with how it worked out,” Insell said. “Florida State has a very good basketball team and they play in the ACC, which is a tough conference. ”

The Blue Raiders are returning to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in 11 seasons under Insell’s guidance. They are making a return into the tournament after a one-year absence in 2015. The Blue Raiders have advanced into the second round of the tournament five times.

Florida State posted a 23-7 overall mark, including a 13-3 ledger in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Seminoles were 15-1 at home this season, and 8-6 in games played away from the Tucker Center. Florida State is led by Shakayla Thomas with 17.1 points per game. Adut Bulgak (12.7) and Leticia Romero (11.2) also average double figures.