COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Middle Tennessee State University rising junior Jalynn Gregory is amont four Lady Raiders who will represent MTSU in the upcoming 2023 USA Basketball 3X Nationals.
The announcement was made by USA Basketball on Friday.
The event will be held at Reid Arena on the campus of Colorado College in Colorado Springs from May 6-7. It will feature up to 12 men’s and 16 women’s teams, including some of the best 3x3 players in the country, vying for national titles.
Gregory — a 2021 graduate of Macon County High School after leading the girls basketball program to its first state championship — will be joined by three teammates — emerging senior Courtney Whitson, emerging senior and All-America candidate Savannah Wheeler and emerging sophomore Ta’Mia Scott.
Game action is set to stream live on that Saturday and Sunday on USA Basketball’s website, usab.com, and YouTube.com/USABasketball. The 3X Nationals is open to the public.
Among the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I women’s programs are expected to field teams at 3X Nationals are Creighton, Duke, Gonzaga, Indiana, Maryland, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Tennessee, UCLA, Utah and Villanova.
Played on a half court with a 10-minute clock and a 12-second shot clock, the first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner. Participating teams earned their spots in the 2023 USA Basketball 3X Nationals either through USA Basketball 3X regional qualifying tournaments last fall or via an at-large invitation from USA Basketball.
The 3X Nationals will serve as an evaluation for selection to various 2023 USA Basketball 3x3 men’s and women’s national teams, including the 2023 FIBA 3x3 World Cup, set for May 30-June 4 in Vienna, Austria, and roster spots for USA Basketball World Tour, Women’s Series and U21 and U23 Nations League teams.
MTSU was among the teams selected for the event after its selection in the Feb. 27 poll from the Associated Press earned Conference USA two slots in the event. The top 25 teams in the nation according to the Feb. 27 AP poll, the top four teams by conference standings within the top 20 positions in the Feb 27 poll and the top two teams by conference standings within the 21-25 positions in the Feb. 27 poll earn invitations to Colorado Springs for the event.
MTSU earned its first national ranking since the 2013-14 season this year during its historic run through Conference USA, earning a spot in the top 25 during five weeks throughout the 2022-23 season. The team finished just outside the top 25 in the final poll of the season, earning the top spot among teams receiving votes outside the top 25.
Gregory averaged 13.4 points per game and hit 85 of 253 three-point field goals as a sophomore, a 33.6% clip. Gregory ranked 13th in the nation in three-point attempts and 29th in made three-point field goals. She was selected as the Conference USA Tournament Most Valuable Player and was a second team all-conference honoree.
Whitson, is one of five players in program history to reach both 1,000 career points and 800 career rebounds as a Lady Raider. She will enter the 2023-24 season with 855 career rebounds in 121 games, ranking her just outside the top 20 in Conference USA history. Whitson averaged 10.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a junior, playing 37.3 minutes per game — ranking 10th in the nation in minutes played per game and first in Conference USA.
Wheeler, an All-America candidate for the 2023-24 season, averaged a team-best 15.1 points per game, starting all 30 games she appeared in during the 2022-23 season. The first team all-conference selection was also a three-time Conference USA player of the week.
Wheeler has put together one of the most decorated careers in conference history, compiling 1,747 career points in 107 career games. She ranks high in several categories in Conference USA history, including in the top 20 in career scoring in the league. She will enter the 2023-24 season ranked 16th in league history for points scored and just 253 points shy of becoming the 10th player in league history with 2,000 career points. She was named a Mid-Major All-America selection by World Exposure Report following the 2022-23 season, the first All-America honor for a Lady Raider since the 2019-20 season.
Scott saw action in 25 games as a freshman for the Lady Raiders on a loaded roster. She shot over 43% from the field during her inaugural season at MTSU.
The selection of Whitson, Wheeler, Gregory and Scott adds to the USA Basketball resume of Middle Tennessee State women’s basketball. Head coach Rick Insell coached USA Basketball during the 2022 Youth Development Festival, earning the silver medal after posting a 2-3 record in competition.
MTSU recently completed a 28-5 season, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the 20th time in program history after claiming the 2023 Conference USA Tournament and regular-season championships. The Lady Raiders have won 55 games over the last two seasons and are one of two teams nationally to finish the regular season with a perfect record at home in both 2021-22 and 2022-23, alongside 2022 NCAA national champion South Carolina. The Lady Raiders were one of just 20 teams nationally to win 28 games or more during the 2022-23 season and were one of just 10 schools in the nation to finish in the top 50 nationally in scoring defense and scoring offense.
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