Over the past several years their has been a huge increase in the following of Lady Raider hoops. Four consecutive NCAA appearances, a national ranking, and a former high school coach have all contributed to this unprecedented rise in Lady Raider euphoria.
The Lady Raiders will begin play on Thursday, November 1, in an exhibition game against North Alabama. The game starts at 7 p.m. in Murphy Center.
The Blue Raiders, who ended the 2006-2007 season ranked #23, will begin the year ranked #27.
Thursday will be the first opportunity for the Middle Tennessee fans to see a team who will be competing without the 2006-2007 Sun Belt Player of the Year, Chrissy Givens. This team will also have to fill the void of Krystle Horton, an underrated player who contributed in all facets of the game.
Look for Amber Holt to really make her presence felt in this coming season. Holt has been selected as a preseason 2nd team All-American.
Many of the fans will be keeping their eyes on the newcomers as well. Angelique Burtts will be in uniform this year after taking a redshirt last year. She is a 6-0 forward out of Conyers, GA.
True freshman Emily Queen will be fighting for playing time as well. She is a 6-1 forward out of Ashland, KY. She played on the Rose Hill Christian School varsity team since she was in 6th grade. She has garnered many honors, including 46 points in a single game.
Another true freshman is 6-1 guard Morgan Boyd from Olathe, Kansas. Boyd was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Kansas in 2007.
Hometown product Anne Marie Lanning will be making her first appearance as a Blue Raider. Her last appearance as a high school player was on the same Murphy Center floor where she led the Riverdale Warriors to the state championship. The 5-11 guard was selected as Tennessee's Miss Basketball in Class AAA.
Besides getting a peek at the newcomers, the Blue Raider faithful have many other things to be excited about and many questions have to be answered. Can this team continue the tear through the Sun Belt Conference? Will Jackie Pickle, I mean Jackie "Triple" Pickle even set foot in Murphy Center before firing one of her long range bombs? What about Brandi Brown who we refer to as "Downtown" Brandi Brown? Will she continue to be a major contributor to this team from the inside and beyond the arc? We can't forget about the floor general Johnna Abney. Her continued stellar play, ball handling skills, leadership, and timely 3 pointers will be key for the Lady Raiders this year. Is there a quicker, better defensive player and rebounder in the Sun Belt than Starr Orr? Look for her to step up her offensive production as well.
Rick Insell has brought a fun, fast paced, pressing style to Murfreesboro and the fans have responded. Fans have already purchased nearly 2,300 season tickets and you can expect that number to increase over the next couple of weeks.
Nov. 1 will be the beginning of "Bad Business Part II".