Raiders Win Ninth Straight, 90-55

Brown hits five more 3-pointers, finishes with team-high 19 points

January 6, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Brandi Brown hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points and Chrissy Givens tallied her ninth career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in 25th-ranked Middle Tennessee's 90-55 victory over Troy Saturday night, the team's ninth consecutive triumph.

Brown was 7-of-12 from the field and 5-for-10 from 3-point range after hitting seven trifectas and netting a career-high 25 points in Tuesday's win over North Dakota State. The freshman helped lead an attack that relied heavily on defense for much of the game, forcing a season-high 35 turnovers and converting them into 46 points.

The Blue Raiders (12-3, 4-0 Sun Belt) hit a dozen 3-pointers as a team, the seventh game this season with double-digit makes from behind the arc. Freshman Jackie Pickel finished with 13 points and hit a pair of trifectas and another frosh, Chelsia Lymon, also made a pair of 3-pointers. Sophomore point guard Johnna Abney hit a trio of 3-pointers as well.

Middle Tennessee raced out to a 17-4 lead in the first nine minutes of the game thanks to 11 turnovers by the Trojans (8-7, 1-4). The lead grew to as many as 26 late in the half, with the Blue Raiders converting 22 Troy miscues into 27 points. Middle Tennessee led 41-19 at the break and no player was in double figures, though nine players had scored.

In the second half the Blue Raiders pushed the lead back out to 26 at 62-36 with 12:03 remaining before Givens twisted her knee near halfcourt going for a steal and lay on the floor for several minutes in obvious pain. The senior left the court under her own power and did not return to the contest. Her status for this week's games will be determined after tests on Sunday.

Brown had 11 of her 19 points after intermission, as the Blue Raiders shot 53 percent in the second half.

Junior Amber Holt finished with 10 points and junior Lakira Boyd grabbed eight rebounds and scored six points in just 18 minutes of action.

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Middle Tennessee hits the road next week with three games, starting Tuesday at Florida International at 6 p.m. CT. The Blue Raiders take on Florida Atlantic on Thursday and then travel to New Orleans on Saturday.

Middle Tennessee will host the annual Girls and Women in Sports Day on Saturday, February 3, in conjunction with the women's basketball game against South Alabama that begins at 3 p.m. Interested parties may purchase a $10 that include a game ticket, a hot dog and a soda. A two-hour clinic prior to the game is also part of the day as well as all of the girls begin recognized at halftime of the game. There will also be postgame sutographs that day with the team. Call the Middle Tennessee Ticket Office at 615/898-2103 or 1-888-YES-MTSU.

GAME TIME CHANGE: Middle Tennessee's game at New Orleans on Saturday, January 13 has been changed to an 11 a.m. tipoff to accommodate the New Orleans Saints playoff game that day. The game was originally scheduled for 2 p.m.

RICK INSELL LIVE SET TO BEGIN JANUARY 15: Middle Tennessee's weekly radio show with the head coach, Rick Insell Live, will begin Monday, January 15 at 6 p.m. at Bluesboro in downtown Murfreesboro. The one-hour program is hosted by the voice of the Blue Raiders, David Reed, and allows fans in the audience as well as those listening to ask questions of the second-year coach. Shows will run each Monday until the end of the season at Bluesboro on January 15, 22 and 29 and February 5, 12, 19 and 26.

24 IN A ROW:
With tonight's win over Troy, Middle Tennessee ran its streak of consecutive wins at home against Sun Belt competition to 24. The last time the Blue Raiders lost a conference game at home was February 5, 2004, in double overtime against Western Kentucky. Overall, MT has won 28 of its last 29 home conference games and head coach Rick Insell is a perfect 13-0 at home versus league foes.

GIVENS PASSES ROSS: Senior Chrissy Givens dished out three assists in the win over Troy to surpass Janet Ross for eighth place on the all-time assists list at Middle Tennessee. Givens now has 357 career assists and needs just 14 more to overtake Julie Morrison for seventh.

GIVENS POSTS THIRD DOUBLE-DOUBLE OF SEASON: Senior Chrissy Givens posted her third double-double of the season and ninth of her career with 13 points and 11 rebounds in just 26 minutes of action. Givens also posted double-doubles this season against Maine (23 pts., 13 reb.) and Tennessee Tech (22 pts., 11 reb.).

BROWN STAYS HOT: Freshman Brandi Brown continued her torrid shooting from 3-point range, hitting 5-for-10 from behind the arc and finishing with a team-high 19 points. The Jamestown, Tenn., native has 12 trifectas in the last two contests and four games this season with four or more 3-pointers. For the season Brown is shooting 45 percent from 3-point range this season.

STREAK REACHES NINE: Tonight's win over Troy extended the Blue Raiders winning streak to nine games. That matches the eighth longest streak in school history but remains six back of the all-time record of 15 set in 1987. The Blue Raiders will go for number 10 this Tuesday at Florida International.

QUICK HITTERS: MT is now 2-0 since being ranked in the Top 25 ... The Blue Raiders remain perfect in the series against Troy (4-0) following tonight's victory ... Head Coach Rick Insell is now 22-3 at Murphy Center ... The Blue Raiders 12-3 start is their best since the 1995-96 squad began 17-1 ... Middle Tennessee hit 12 3-pointers in the game, its seventh game this season with double-digit 3-pointers and fourth in the last six outings.

Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell
On tonight's game

"I thought we were sluggish. I think we missed five or six chip shots and usually they fall. We shot the three a little better the second half. Brandi [Brown] and Jackie [Pickel] are such great 3-point shooters. We stress to Amber Holt and Chrissy [Givens] about the ball going through their hands."

On the team's frenzied defensive play
"Have you been in my office? If you go to my office you will see that it is not really organized, so our defense is not really organized either. It messes up everyone. We want to play at a frantic pace because it opens up the floor for our 3-point shooters and for Chrissy [Givens], Amber Holt and Krystle Horton to slash."

On Senior Guard Chrissy Givens
"I've coached great players and some of them were on television today playing, but I don't know if I have coached any greater player than [Chrissy Givens] on and off the court. She is a winner and she is what makes us go."

On Senior Givens' potential injury
"We don't know anything yet. We are going to get an MRI tonight and know something [Sunday] morning. We are hoping for the best. I don't want to see anyone hurt on either team."

On Junior Guard Starr Orr
"I thought Starr Orr had a great game tonight and she went to the boards and she tried to do some things offensively. She was all over the floor defensively. If I had to pick a player out tonight that made a lot of things happen it would be her. Now that Chrissy [Givens] will be out a few games, I think she needs to do some more things offensively."

Senior Guard Chrissy Givens
On tonight's game

"We stress so much on our defense because when you do have an off-shooting night, you can always rely on it. There is never a night that our defense shouldn't be what it has always been. We never take a night off on defense. We can't always make 16 3-pointers a game, so defense is the main thing our team goes for. "

On her potential injury
"I was diving after a ball and my foot was caught on the hardwood and when it bent, my foot wasn't able to turn like it should have and when I sat down on it I tweaked [my knee]. I am putting all of my weight on it now."

Troy Women's Basketball Coach Michael Murphy
On handling Middle Tennessee's defensive pressure

"We knew we had to handle the pressure. That's no secret in playing those guys because it's relentless and it comes from every position. Thirty-five turnovers speaks for itself. When you look at our shooting percentage at 61 percent, you'd take that any night of the week. We knew that turnovers were going to be a problem. Those turnovers were a by-product of their pressure. At times, when we handled it, we got what we wanted, which reflects the 61 percent shooting. When we didn't, they were able to turn those mistakes into baskets. We knew that was the strength of their team and that was something we had to do a better job in containing. We just didn't do the job."

On Middle Tennessee's play
"Middle Tennessee is really good. They are ranked in the top 25, but they should be very easily ranked in the top 15. We tip our hat to them and say congratulations and good luck. We pray to God that [Chrissy] Givens is okay. We hope that it's nothing serious because she's a star player and she's a great representative of the university and the conference and we want to see her back on the court."

On improving in the second half
"It's hard to duplicate what they do in practice. If you're not shell-shocked from the first half, you can improve in the second half, which we did. Their pressure is relentless. That's just something that they do and we have to do a better job handling it. I'm disappointed in the way we shot free throws. That's something we've got to do a better job of."

On sophomore guard Kylie Morrissy's 22 points
"I think [Kylie] Morrissy was the stud today. I think she took the team on her shoulders and did a good job. We were really hampered by not having Danielle Realph out there."

On missing sophomore forward Danielle Realph in the second half
"She couldn't go at all in the second half because of an injury to her knee. She played really well against Western Kentucky. She can extend the defense by shooting the three-ball. It hurt us not having her in the game."

On if playing Middle Tennessee will help Troy improve
"Playing a quality opponent, especially one that's well coached and plays hard, can only make you better. There's an old saying that what doesn't kill you will make you better. We didn't get killed tonight. I think it will make us better and will help us prepare for our three-game homestand."

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