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Raiders take fourth consecutive Sun Belt Tournament title

March 6, 2007 · MT Media Relations
LAFAYETTE, La. - Chrissy Givens tied her season-high with 33 points and Amber Holt added 20, as 16th-ranked Middle Tennessee defeated Louisiana-Lafayette, 77-67, Tuesday, in the championship game of the Sun Belt Tournament at the Cajundome. It marks the fourth straight tournament title for the Blue Raiders and the 26th consecutive victory for Middle Tennessee this season.

Givens scored 20 of her 33 in the first half, helping the Blue Raiders (29-3) to a 10-point halftime advantage. In the second half Middle Tennessee pushed the lead to as many as 15 points after one of Johnna Abney's four 3-pointers in the game, 61-46, with 9:45 remaining.

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Blue Raiders vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
But the Ragin' Cajuns (25-8) would not go away, scoring eight straight points to cut the lead to seven. But a Givens bucket and Holt 3-pointer, one of eight trifectas in the contest for the Blue Raiders, kept UL at bay and gave Givens and fellow senior Krystle Horton their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Horton added seven points and nine rebounds, while Abney scored 12 points, hitting 4-of-7 from behind the arc.

The two teams played even through the first 10 minutes of the game before the Blue Raiders scored nine straight points, holding UL scoreless for more than four minutes and taking a 27-17 advantage.

Louisiana-Lafayette closed the gap to 35-29 with 2:54 remaining in the half, but Givens scored the final six points of the half, including a 14-footer just before the buzzer, giving the Blue Raiders a 39-29 lead at intermission.

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Horton and Holt were both named to the All-Tournament Team and Givens was voted the Most Outstanding Player for the second straight season. Givens smashed the tournament scoring record held by former teammate Patrice Holmes. Givens netted 85 points in three contests, eclipsing the previous mark by 11 points.

Middle Tennessee now waits to see where it will be placed by the NCAA Selection Committee. The NCAA Selection Show is set for Monday, March 12, at 7 p.m. CT. Further information on the team's plans will be forthcoming later this week.

Fans can welcome the team back to Murfreesboro on Wednesday around Noon at Corky's on Old Fort Parkway.

POSTGAME NOTES
STREAKIN' RAIDERS:
Middle Tennessee has enjoyed a remarkable 2006-07 season that will go down as the best in school history. Along the way, the Blue Raiders have amassed some incredible streaks so here is an updated look at each one:
26 consecutive wins ranks as the most in school history and currently the most in the nation
24 consecutive wins against Sun Belt Conference teams
14 consecutive wins away from home
13 consecutive Sun Belt Conference Tournament wins
4 consecutive Sun Belt Conference Tournament titles
4 consecutive NCAA Tournaments

FOUR IN A ROW: With today's victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament for a school-record tying fourth straight year. The Blue Raiders also made four straight trips to the Big Dance from 1983 to 1986. This will be the 11th time overall the Blue Raiders have made the NCAA Tournament where they carry an overall record of 4-9.

HORTON, GIVENS REMAIN PERFECT: Middle Tennessee seniors Krystle Horton and Chrissy Givens will end their careers in some elite company. Both players completed their Sun Belt Conference careers by going a perfect 13-0 in Sun Belt Conference Tournament games which only a few players can claim during the history of the SBC. If that is not impressive enough, the pair had a combined record of 62-11 (.849) against Sun Belt competition during their four years.

GIVENS BREAKS RECORD: With 33 points today, senior Chrissy Givens set a Sun Belt Conference tournament record for total points scored. Givens registered 85 points during this week's tournament to break the mark of 74 set by former Blue Raider Patrice Holmes in 2003. For her career, Givens tallied 251 total points in 13 games of the Sun Belt Conference tournament (had 71 in 2006).

GIVENS MAKES SBC HISTORY: Senior Chrissy Givens was named the 2007 SBC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and the Tournament MVP for the second straight season. Givens becomes the first player in the history of the league to win all three awards in back-to-back seasons.

FIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR MT: The Middle Tennessee athletic department is having one of its best year's in recent memory. Following the Blue Raiders' women's basketball tournament championship on Tuesday, the program now has five SBC championships this academic year. MT won the football championship, won the volleyball regular season title, the volleyball tournament title, the women's basketball regular season championship, and now the women's basketball tournament title.

QUICK HITTERS: Chrissy Givens, Krystle Horton, and Amber Holt all made the SBC All-Tournament team ... Middle Tennessee is now 17-3 all-time in the Sun Belt Conference tournament and ties Old Dominion for the third most tournament wins in league history ... Today marked the 15th conference tournament championship game the Blue Raiders have played all-time with 10 coming in the OVC and now five in the SBC ... Amber Holt registered her ninth career 20-point game ... Chrissy Givens has now scored 30 or more points 12 times during her career ... Krystle Horton's nine rebounds marked her second most in an SBC Tournament game.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.