Givens Nets 32 in Blue Raiders 86-52 Triumph

Blue Raiders push winning streak to 10

January 9, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MIAMI, Fla. - Chrissy Givens scored a season-high 32 points and Amber Holt added 19, as 21st-ranked Middle Tennessee shot better than 70 percent from the field for most of the second half, running away with an 86-52 victory over Florida International Tuesday night at Pharmed Arena.

The win runs Middle Tennessee's winning streak to 10 games this season, tying for the sixth longest in school history and the longest winning streak since a 10-game stretch in 1999-00.

Middle Tennessee (13-3, 5-0 Sun Belt) led 38-22 at the half and hit 19 of its first 25 shots after intermission, taking a 40-point lead at 84-44 with 4:57 left in the game. Freshman Brandi Brown also contributed 16 points, 13 in the first half.

Givens took over in the second half, scoring 25 of her 32 points, including 12 of the first 17. The senior drove the lane continually in the second half, making lay-ups and short jumpers. Givens also dished out eight assists with four rebounds and six steals in 34 minutes, returning to the court after injuring her knee in Saturday's win over Troy.

"I felt alright after the first practice when I was able to dribble [on Sunday] and I was cutting fine," Givens said. "I felt good the more I practiced and played [this week] and I felt like because it was a road game, I needed to come out and be more aggressive and score and do the things I needed to do. The shots fell tonight and we played real well defensively."

Middle Tennessee's Krystle Horton added eight points and eight rebounds and the Blue Raiders outrebounded a much taller FIU, 37-29, in the game.

"I thought Chelsia [Lymon] and Starr [Orr] were the difference up front and Krystle Horton down low with the rebounds and hard-nosed battling those players did for us tonight," head coach Rick Insell said. "The player Chelsia was guarding (FIU point guard Iva Ciglar) had 10 turnovers.

"Everybody that played tonight was able to contribute and that's what a team's all about. We've got to be able to play 10-12 players and give some others rest playing these road games. It was a great win and we played well."

Middle Tennessee scored 38 points off 29 FIU turnovers in the game, while the Blue Raiders turned the ball over just 13 times, recorded 20 assists and made 18 steals.

Brown hit a trio of 3-pointers early in the first half and totaled 13 points in the first 20 minutes, as the Blue Raiders raced out to a 38-22 halftime lead. Brown entered the game just three minutes in and made her first basket before hitting nine consecutive points, all on trifectas, giving Middle Tennessee a 17-10 edge with 12:07 left in the half.

The Blue Raiders were ahead 38-18 after a Givens lay-up with 3:30 before the break, but did not score again, including Givens missing two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining.

Middle Tennessee plays the second in a three-game road swing on Thursday, taking on Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m. CT. The road trip ends Saturday at New Orleans.

Middle Tennessee is sponsoring Take a Kid to the Game night on Thursday, January 18 when the Blue Raiders face Arkansas State at 7 p.m. at Murphy Center. Adults purchase a ticket for $7 and your child gets in free. Tickets are available in advance at the Middle Tennessee Ticket Office by calling 615/898-2103 or 1-888-YES-MTSU or they may be purchased the day of the game. Also, the game is Scales Elementary Night with the Scales cheerleaders performing at halftime.

NATIONAL GIRLS AND WOMEN IN SPORTS DAY UPCOMING: 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 autographs 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.

With a season-high 32 points Tuesday against Florida International, senior Chrissy Givens passed Stephanie Capley (1988-91) and Sharon McClanahan (1976-79) for seventh place on the all-time scoring list at Middle Tennessee. Givens has 1,486 points and is now chasing Jennifer McFall (1982-85), who finished her career with 1,834 points.

DEFENSE ... DEFENSE: Middle Tennessee stepped up its full-court press even more against Florida International, forcing 29 turnovers and converting those miscues into 38 points. The Blue Raiders also limited the Golden Panthers to just 38 percent shooting from the field (.378, 17-for-45), the second lowest for the Middle Tennessee opponent this season (.377, Minnesota).

BENCH CONTINUES TO PLAY A FACTOR: Middle Tennessee's improved depth this season continues to play a big factor in each game. Freshman Brandi Brown has led the bench brigade for most of the season, but never more so than over the last three games when the Jamestown, Tenn., native is averaging 20.0 points per contest. Brown hit four more 3-pointers Tuesday against Florida International and finished with 16 points. Meanwhile freshman Chelsia Lymon had a trio of 3-pointers as well and forced FIU point guard Iva Ciglar into 10 turnovers on the defensive end. Lymon also tied her career-high with three rebounds in the triumph.

SQUAD FINDING ROAD SUCCESS: Middle Tennessee ran its record away from Murphy Center this season to 6-1, including 5-1 in road games. The five victories equal the number of road triumphs the Blue Raiders posted all of last season. The only road loss for Middle Tennessee this season came at fourth-ranked Tennessee on November 26, also the team's last defeat overall.

WIN STREAK REACHES 10: With Tuesday's victory the Blue Raiders ran their current winning streak to 10 games, tying for the fifth longest winning streak in school history and the longest since the 1999-00 squad won 10 consecutive contests from February 3-29, 2000. The 10-game winning stretch in 2000 is the longest by any Middle Tennessee team over the last decade. The 1986-87 club posted a school-record 15-game winning streak from January 12-February 26, 1987.

TIDBITS: Senior Chrissy Givens posted season-highs in points (32), assists (8) and steals (6) in the victory. Her 30-plus point effort was the first 30-point game by a Blue Raiders since Givens scored a career-high 36 points against Louisiana-Lafayette in last year's Sun Belt Championships ... Givens has eight games this season with six or more assists ... Senior Krystle Horton tied her career-high with four assists ... With the victory Middle Tennessee improved to 18-4 under head coach Rick Insell against Sun Belt competition ... The Blue Raiders outrebounded FIU, 37-29, the fourth straight game Middle Tennessee has grabbed more rebounds than its opponent.

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