Givens, Holt Lead 76-50 Victory

Raiders advance to fifth consecutive championship game

March 5, 2007 · MT Media Relations
LAFAYETTE, La. - Chrissy Givens scored 28 points, including 19 in the first half, and Amber Holt added a double-double with 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, as 16th-ranked Middle Tennessee defeated Denver, 76-50, Monday in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Championships at the Cajundome. The Blue Raiders advance to the tournament championship game for the fifth straight year.

Middle Tennessee (28-3) also won its 25th straight game overall, the nation's longest winning streak, and upped its winning streak in the SBC Tournament to 12 games.

Givens scorched the nets for 19 points in the opening half, hitting 8-of-13 shots, tying a season-high for points in the first half. Holt added 11 points and eight rebounds, as the Blue Raiders scored 11 of the game's first 14 points and raced out to a 25-7 lead midway through the first half.

Blue Raiders vs. Denver
Krystle Horton hit two free throws for Middle Tennessee's first two points of the game before Denver (20-11) took its only lead of the game on a 3-pointer from Nnenna Akotaobi.

The Blue Raiders then ran off nine consecutive points, including seven from Givens. Middle Tennessee extended the lead as the half progressed, stretching it to 43-17 at the break. The Blue Raiders shot 46 percent from the field and forced the Pioneers into 14 turnovers, turning those into 20 points.

In the second half Middle Tennessee opened the half with a 22-9 run, leading by as many as 39 points at 65-26 with 14:05 remaining in the game. Jackie Pickel made two of her three 3-pointers after intermission, finishing with nine points, and Horton added six points and eight rebounds, playing just 15 minutes because of early foul trouble.

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Brandi Brown also scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds, while Holt added four steals and Givens had five assists and three steals. For her efforts Givens was named the Gatorade Player of the Game by ESPN Regional.

Denver turned the ball over 27 times in the contest. Akotaobi led the Pioneers with 11 points, hitting a trio of 3-pointers in the game.

Middle Tennessee advances to Tuesday's tournament championship game at 3 p.m. and will face the winner of Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Middle Tennessee advanced to the Sun Belt Tournament championship game against the winner of Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The game will be shown live on ESPN Regional and Comcast Cable Channel 27 in the Midstate. The Blue Raiders game will also be carried live on 106.7 The Fan in Nashville and 1450 WGNS in Murfreesboro, starting at 2:45 p.m. for the pregame show with David Reed.

The Blue Raiders advanced to their fifth consecutive Sun Belt Tournament championship game with the victory and improved their winning streak in the SBC Tournament to 12 games. Middle Tennessee lost in the 2004 finals to Western Kentucky and has claimed the last three conference tourney titles. Louisiana Tech owns the longest streak of tournament titles with six, but no other school in league history has won more than three in a row. The five consecutive championship game appearances ranks fourth in league history, behind Louisiana Tech (9), Western Kentucky (8) and Old Dominion (6).

Senior Chrissy Givens set the single-season scoring record in the contest, eclipsing the mark of Tawanya Mucker, who netted 671 points in 1988. Givens has 695 points heading into Tuesday's SBC Tournament championship game.

The Blue Raiders hit seven 3-pointers in the contest, the most by the team since making 12 against South Alabama on February 3. Brandi Brown made her first trifecta since February 7 at Louisiana-Monroe, a span of six games, and Jackie Pickel made a trio of 3-pointers, her eighth game this season with three or more made trifectas in a contest.

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