New Year, Same Ty Petty


Middle Tennessee guard Ty Petty says the opportunity to play in front of some of the best women’s basketball fans in the country was one of the factors in opting to play for the hometown Lady Raiders.

Middle Tennessee fans came through for Petty when she won the fan vote for a spot in this week’s Starting Five, a weekly featuring recognizing the week’s top performers. Fan voting took place on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Twitter account during a three-hour window Tuesday.

Petty was the top choice with 44 percent of the votes cast, edging out UConn’s Gabby Williams, who received 32 percent. Tennessee’s Mercedes Russell (21 percent) and Marquette’s Allazia Blockton (3 percent) were also part of the poll.

“It was nice when I found out I was part of (NCAA Starting Five), but I was really excited and humbled when I was told I won the fan voting,” Petty said. “I’ve always said our fans were a big reason I chose to stay home and play at Middle Tennessee. Our fans are the best. I love playing for our fans, and I appreciate them voting for me. I also want to thank for including me.”

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Petty joins Allison Arens, South Dakota; Monique Billings, UCLA; Ciara Gregory, Charlotte; and Miah Spencer, N.C. State on this week’s Starting Five.

Petty poured in 21 points, dished out four assists and collected two steals in Middle Tennessee’s 79-69 win against Central Michigan on Dec. 28.

She tied a career-high with 29 points in helping Middle Tennessee overcome a 14-point deficit to earn a conference road win in its league opener at UAB, 64-61 on Jan. 1. Petty scored 15 of her 29 in the first half and completed the comeback with 10 in the fourth quarter. She went 10-of-10 from the free-throw line against UAB, completing a perfect 17-of-17 effort at the stripe for the week. Petty also had a season-high five steals against UAB, which was one off of her career high.

The dynamic point guard is ranked in the top 10 of seven statistical categories in Conference USA and ranks first nationally in minutes played (39.4), 11th in free-throw percentage (.915), 51st in assists (5.1) and 72nd in 3-point field goal percentage (.400).

Petty completed a sweep of weekly honors as she was named USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week, C-USA Player of the Week, Tennessee Sports Writers Player of the Week and Starting Five.

Middle Tennessee plays host to Rice Thursday. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Starting Five (Jan. 4)
Allison Arens, South Dakota
Monique Billings, UCLA
Ciara Gregory, Charlotte
Ty Petty, Middle Tennessee
Miah Spencer, N.C. State