Givens Nets 26 in 70-56 Victory

Blue Raiders tie school record with 15th straight win

January 24, 2007 · MT Media Relations
DENTON, Texas - Middle Tennessee began the second half with an 18-2 run, breaking open a one-point game at the half, as the 19th-ranked Blue Raiders tied a school-record with their 15th straight victory in a 70-56 win over North Texas Wednesday night at the Super Pit.

Middle Tennessee (18-3, 10-0 Sun Belt) led by just one at the half after some sloppy play in the opening 20 minutes. The Blue Raiders rode the quick start and better defensive pressure after halftime, outscoring the Mean Green, 29-10, in the first 12 minutes of the second half.

The Blue Raiders opened the lead to as many as 20 points after the break, but UNT made 10-0 run, cutting the Middle Tennessee lead to 12, but a 3-pointer from the corner by Starr Orr with 3:30 remaining sealed the victory.

Chrissy Givens led all scorers with 26 points, but the Blue Raiders shot just 40 percent from the floor in the game. Amber Holt added 16 points in the win for Middle Tennessee, their ninth road victory of the season and 10th away from home this year. Krystle Horton grabbed 10 rebounds and scored four points.

Despite a very shaky opening 20 minutes, the Blue Raiders led 32-31 at the break after failing to score for the final 3:36 of the half. Givens scored 15 before intermission but picked up her third foul on a charging call with 4:15 remaining in the break.

North Texas (5-13, 2-6 SBC) handled the press fairly well in the half and Amber Jackson was an All-American, scoring 15 of the Mean Green's 31 points. Middle Tennessee used a three-quarters court and half-court trap in the second half, forcing 12 turnovers after intermission.

"[North Texas] is very athletic. They have lateral quickness and [Amber] Jackson is just deadly. She just did a great job," head coach Rick Insell said. "Right off the bat we let her get off.

"Then we got Chrissy Givens in foul trouble but I felt like we'd be alright. But they came out and really stuck us. They did a great job. They were prepared. They shut down some of the things we like to do and they did that because they were so athletic."

The Blue Raiders open a three-game homestand Sunday with a 2 p.m. contest against Western Division leader Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Next Level Club will host a brunch before this Sunday's game from 11:30 a .m.-1 p.m. in Auxiliary Gym One at Murphy Center. Members interested in the brunch need to RSVP by Thursday, January 25, by calling Debbie Bartlett at 615/898-2968. Also, those interested in joining the Next Level Club may call Bartlett for more information.

AUTOGRAPH SESSION SET FOR JANUARY 28: Fans will have the opportunity to receive autographs from their favorite Middle Tennessee players and coaches after the Blue Raiders take on Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday, January 28. Game time is set for 2 p.m. and the autograph session will follow the game.

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 includes 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 being recognized at halftime of the game. Call the Middle Tennessee Ticket Office at 615/898-2103 or 1-888-YES-MTSU.

Middle Tennessee upped its winning streak to 15 games with Wednesday's victory, tying the school record for consecutive victories. The Blue Raiders have not lost since November 26 at Tennessee. The other 15-game winning streak in school history came January 12-February 26, 1987.

GIVENS CONTINUES TORRID SCORING STRETCH: Senior Chrissy Givens scored 26 points in the victory, continuing a six-game stretch where the Monroe, La., native has averaged 26.3 points per game. She netted a season-high 33 points last Saturday at Arkansas-Little Rock and had 32 on January 9 at Florida International, starting the current streak. For the season Givens averages 22.1 points per game, ranking sixth in the nation.

ROAD WINS KEEP COMING: Middle Tennessee posted its ninth road victory and 10th win away from home this season with Wednesday's triumph. The Blue Raiders improved on their school-record for consecutive road victories as well, posting the eighth in a row. In the last decade of the program, only one other team has posted nine road wins in a season - the 2003-04 squad that was 9-4. This season's club still has three road games remaining on the schedule.

CAREER UPDATES: Senior Krystle Horton started her 99th career game, moving out of a tie and into ninth on the games started list. Horton played in her 116th career game, tying Kim Webb (1984-87) and Tia Stovall (2003-06) for fifth on the all-time list. Horton also grabbed 10 rebounds in the contest, passing Joanne Aluka (1998, 2000-02) for 12th on the career list. Horton now has 650 career caroms ... Senior Chrissy Givens scored 26 points in the contest, moving into a tie for eighth with Horton on the career double-figure scoring games list with 70 ... Givens took 21 shots in the game, moving into a tie for sixth with Jamie Thomatis (1999-02) on the all-time FG attempts list with 1,300. Givens made four free throws in the game, passing Jennifer McFall (1982-85) for seventh on the career list with 299 career makes. Her five foul shot attempts passed Sharon McClanahan (1976-79) for ninth on the career attempts list with 411 ... Sophomore Johnna Abney took six 3-point shots in the contest, passing Cortney Neeley (1996-99) for 10th on the career list with 249 attempts.

CONFERENCE START NEARING BEST: Middle Tennessee improved to 10-0 this season in Sun Belt Conference play, equaling the third best start to conference action in school history. The 1982-83 Blue Raiders won all 10 of their OVC games, the third longest streak in program history. The 1987-88 squad owns the top mark at 12 games, while the 1995-96 club's 11-game winning streak ranks second to start conference play.

TIDBITS: Middle Tennessee improved to 6-4 all-time against North Texas, including 4-2 at the Super Pit. The Blue Raiders also avenged a 69-64 loss to the Mean Green last season in Denton ... The Blue Raiders tied the best 21-game start in school history with the victory, moving to 18-3 on the season. Twice before Middle Tennessee teams began a season 18-3, last accomplished by the 1995-96 squad and also posted by the 1976-77 club.

Head Coach Rick Insell
On North Texas and the first half

"We don't take anybody for granted. [North Texas] is very athletic. They have lateral quickness. [Amber] Jackson is just deadly. She just did a great job. Right off the bat we let her get off. Then we got Chrissy Givens in foul trouble but I felt like we'd be alright. But they came out and really stuck us. They did a great job. They were prepared. They shut down some of the things we like to do and they did that because they were so athletic. We passed up some shots we usually hit early and we didn't take them. That's not our game.

On the changes in the second half
"We executed our offense early and we changed defenses on them and I think that gave them some problems. We went to a point-drop and a contain trap instead of a hard trap up front so they couldn't take it to the basket.

On the North Texas team
"They were very aggressive. Their lateral quickness enables them to do some things against us that other teams can't do. They're young. They're going to get better. They're going to upset somebody before the year's over with. I really believe that.

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