Middle Tennessee senior Ty Petty and sophomore Alex Johnson have been named to the 2016-17 C-USA Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference team as announced by the league office today.
The two Blue Raider standouts represent 25 percent of the eight-person team selected by the league’s 14 head coaches.
Middle Tennessee is picked to finish second in what coaches believe will be a tightly-contested conference race as evidenced by balloting in the C-USA Preseason Poll. The Blue Raiders received five first-place votes.
WKU received six first-place votes and was picked as the preseason favorite, followed by Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion, Charlotte and UTEP in the top five spots, respectively. Old Dominion received two first-place votes and UTSA collected the remaining first-place vote.
“I certainly am expecting a very competitive race in Conference USA this season,” Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell said. “We have some outstanding teams in our conference and several high-caliber players returning and that makes for an exciting race.”
The Blue Raiders return four starters and eight letter winners from their 2016 C-USA Championship team.
Petty was a first-team All C-USA selection and most valuable player in the 2016 C-USA Championship. The versatile point guard set the Middle Tennessee single-season assists record with 195 helpers in 2015-16 and became the only player in program history with five double-figure assists games in the same season. Petty also scored double figures in 24 games.
“I believe Ty Petty is one of the best point guards in the country,” Insell said. “Her work ethic is extraordinary and she is a tremendous leader for our team. She has improved every year, and we are expecting big things from Ty this season.”
Johnson debuted in impressive fashion last season when she was named C-USA Freshman of the Year. She was named C-USA Freshman of the Week five times. Johnson scored double figures in 23 games, including 21 of the last 22. She capped her breakout season with 22 points against No. 12 Florida State in the NCAA Tournament. Johnson was 11th in C-USA in scoring and sixth in field goal percentage.
“Alex stepped up and had a big freshman season for us last year, but we knew she was capable of doing that when we recruited her,” Insell said. “As she continued to improve throughout the season, so did our team. Alex kind of hit her stride there at the start of conference play as her confidence and all-around play improved.”
Middle Tennessee will play its first of two exhibition games when it faces Coastal Georgia at Murphy Center, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m.
Fans also will have an opportunity to meet the Blue Raiders at Murphy Madness at Murphy Center, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m.
2016-17 C-USA Preseason All-Conference Team
Ty Petty, Middle Tennessee
Alex Johnson, Middle Tennessee
Lefty Webster, Charlotte
Jennie Simms, Old Dominion
Jenzel Nash, UTEP
Sparkle Taylor, UTEP
Tashia Brown, WKU
*Kendall Noble, WKU
* – Preseason Player of the Year