CHARLOTTE - The Middle Tennessee women's basketball team earned its fourth Top 25 honor in the preseason publications when Sporting News ranked the Blue Raiders No. 23 in its poll published in the 2009-10 basketball preview edition.
Sporting News, which is now owned by Street & Smith's and based in Charlotte, N.C., noted "just because the Blue Raiders play in the Sun Belt doesn't mean they can't compete. Just ask Arizona, Alabama, Indiana and LSU - all Middle Tennessee victims last year."
Senior Alysha Clark was tabbed to the magazine's 10-member Second Team All-America Team, her third preseason All-American honor this season.
Head coach Rick Insell's Blue Raiders welcome back 10 letterwinners and all five starters from last year's team, which posted a 28-6 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six seasons.
Middle Tennessee previously had been ranked No. 8 by Slam, No. 20 by Athlon Sports and No. 21 by Lindy's in their respective preseason polls. Both Athlon Sports and Lindy's selected Clark as a Second Team All-American, while Slam did not release a Preseason All-America Team.
The Blue Raiders will officially open fall practice at 7 p.m. Friday, October 16. The two-hour session is open the public. Middle Tennessee begins regular-season competition at 2 p.m. Nov. 15 against UCF inside the Murphy Center.