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Middle Tennessee rolls to C-USA title

EL PASO, Texas — Ebony Rowe had 23 points to lead four Middle Tennessee players in double figures on Saturday as the No. 22 Blue Raiders won the Conference USA tournament championship in their first season in the league, 84-55 over Southern Mississippi.

Middle Tennessee (29-4), which previously played in the Sun Belt Conference, secured its 10th trip to the NCAA Tournament in 11 years.

Olivia Jones had 18 points to help the top-seeded Blue Raiders to their 11th straight win. Jamierra Faulkner had 20 points and 10 assists for Southern Miss (26-6).

Big West: Ashlee Guay scored 25 to lead top seed Cal State Northridge past Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 73-58 in Anaheim, Calif., giving the Matadors (18-14) their second NCAA bid since moving to Division I in 1990.

Big Sky: Madi Buck scored 14, leading four players in double figures, as host and top seed North Dakota (23-9) reached the NCAAs for the first time, beating Montana 72-55.

MAC: Rachel Tecca had 30 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 3 seed Akron (23-9) to the NCAAs for the first time with a 79-68 win over Ball State in Cleveland.

MEAC: Nicole Hamilton had 20 points as Hampton (28-4) beat Coppin State 50-47 in Norfolk, Va., for its 49th straight league victory and league-record fifth straight tournament title.

Mountain West: Bree Farley had 26 points as No. 2 seed Fresno State (22-10) defeated top seed Colorado State 77-68 in Las Vegas.

Patriot: Kelsey Minato scored 31 to lead host and No. 2 seed Army (25-7) past Holy Cross 68-58 for its first NCAA bid since 2006. That year, rookie coach Maggie Dixon took the Black Knights to their first NCAAs; she died a month later of arrhythmia at age 28.

Sun Belt: Chastity Gooch scored 26 for No. 2 seed Western Kentucky (24-8), which closed with an 18-4 run in the final 7:05 to rally past top-seeded Arkansas State 61-60 in the tournament title game in New Orleans.

SWAC: LaReahn Washington and Jeanette Jackson combined for 42 points to help No. 4 seed Prairie View (14-17) upset No. 2 seed Texas Southern 63-58 in Houston for its fourth straight conference title.

WAC: Guard Stacey Barr had 28 points, 11 in the final three minutes, to lead top seed Idaho (25-8) past Seattle 75-67 in the conference title game in Las Vegas.

All-Florida final: In the Atlantic Sun, Stetson and host Florida Gulf Coast reached today's final in Fort Myers. FGCU (25-7), the top seed, defeated Mercer 64-47 in the semifinals, and No. 2 seed Stetson (26-6) beat South Carolina Upstate 90-60.

Tampa advances: Tampa reached the Sweet 16 of the Division II tournament, beating Sunshine State Conference rival Rollins 75-57 in Fort Lauderdale. Ellen Nurmi and Shamika Williams scored 19 each for the Spartans (25-7), who face Nova Southeastern at 7 p.m. Monday in the South Region finale. Rollins had defeated Saint Leo 56-48 in Friday's first round.

.Fast facts

Automatic bids

Albany America East

Akron MAC

Army Patriot

Baylor Big 12

CS Northridge Big West

Chattanooga Southern

Connecticut American Ath.

DePaul Big East

Fordham Atlantic 10

Fresno State MWC

Gonzaga West Coast

Hampton MEAC

Idaho WAC

Marist Metro Atlantic

Middle Tenn. C-USA

Nebraska Big Ten

North Dakota Big Sky

Notre Dame ACC

Penn Ivy League

Prairie View SWAC

South Dakota Summit

Southern Cal Pac-12

Tennessee SEC

Tenn.-Martin Ohio Valley

Western Ky. Sun Belt

Winthrop Big South

Middle Tennessee rolls to C-USA title 03/15/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 16, 2014 12:14am]

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