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Horton Drains Two Huge Free Throws to Secure Win over ULL

January 26, 2006 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Krystle Horton drained two free throws with 11.8 seconds left in the game to secure a 69-68 Middle Tennessee women's basketball (12-7, 5-1 SBC) victory over Louisiana-Lafayette (14-5, 4-3 SBC) Thursday in front of a season-high crowd of 3,806 in the Murphy Center.

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    The Ragin Cajuns' had 11 seconds and the length of the floor to take the lead and the game but Ashley Blanche's jumper left her hand after time expired. The basket did go in but time was already up.

    Middle Tennessee led by two, 67-65, with 49 seconds remaining thanks to a LaCondra Mason jumper. Louisiana-Lafayette took the lead, 68-67, when Jeanenne Colbert hit a three-pointer with 27 seconds left in the game.

    The Blue Raiders had the ball and 27 seconds to work with, trailing by one. The Ragin Cajuns had just committed four fouls in the second half, but picked up three quick ones in an eight second span. The third one proved to be costly as Yolanda Jones fouled Horton and put her to the line in a one-and-one situation. Horton, who is shooting 70 percent from the free throw line, calmly drained both free throws to give Middle Tennessee the lead.

    Middle Tennessee had a 10-point lead with 12:43 remaining in the second half, but a furious comeback by Louisiana-Lafayette made the game interesting. The Ragin Cajuns went on a 13-5 run to tie the game with 2:31 remaining. Middle Tennessee's Johnna Abney answered for the Blue Raiders with a jumper to help the squad re-take the lead with 2:01 left. The second tie of the half came with 1:34 left when Jones hit two free throws to knot the game at 65.

    The Blue Raiders committed 13 turnovers in the game and forced 14 Louisiana-Lafayette miscues. Middle Tennessee, who is averaging 11.7 steals per game, swiped just five against the Ragin Cajuns. At the free throw line, Middle Tennessee was near perfect connecting on 10-of-11 free throws. The Blue Raiders also hit seven three-pointers in the game, including three from junior guard Chrissy Givens.

    Givens led the Blue Raiders with 24 points and was 3-of-3 from the free throw line. Besides hitting two huge free throws at the end of the game, Horton was already on her way to having one of her best games of the season. Horton ended the game with 21 points, pulled down nine rebounds, had four steals, three assists and was 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

    Middle Tennessee heads back out onto the road on Saturday to take on New Orleans. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in the Chamber of Horrors.

    NOTES:

    SUCCESS AGAINST THE WEST: Middle Tennessee's win over Louisiana-Lafayette kept the Blue Raiders' record against teams from the Sun Belt's West Division perfect since the 2002-03 season. The Blue Raiders are now 23-0 since 2002-03 against the West with the last setback coming on January 23, 2003 against former member New Mexico State.

    HORTON HAS BEST GAME OF YEAR: Junior Krystle Horton, who hit the game-winning free throws with :11 seconds left, turned in her best game of the season against ULL. Horton scored 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, and a season-best four steals and three assists. It marked the Murfreesboro native's seventh 20-point game of her career.

    CLOSE GAMES: Middle Tennessee has had five games this season decided by two points or less and all five have come in the past 10 outings. During that span, the Blue Raiders are 3-2 in those games and have won the last three in a row. However, the Blue Raiders are a perfect 3-0 this year in one-point games.

    GREAT START: With Middle Tennessee's win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday the Blue Raiders improved to 5-1 in Sun Belt Conference action. That record goes down as the second-best start by MT in SBC play in the six years it has competed in the league. The best start in SBC play was last year's 6-0 mark to begin conference action.

    SBC STREAK CONTINUES: The win over ULL tonight extended the Blue Raiders SBC home winning streak to 13 straight games. The last time Middle Tennessee lost a conference game at the Murphy Center was on Feb. 5, 2004 in double overtime against Western Kentucky.

    GIVENS KEEPS HOME STREAK ALIVE: Junior Chrissy Givens continued her stellar offensive scoring on Thursday night with 24 points and three three-pointers in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette. It marked the 12th time this season Givens has topped the 20-point mark and the eighth straight time at home.

    PLAYER OF THE GAME: Krystle Horton was voted the Alexander Automotive Family Player of the Game against Louisiana-Lafayette by members of the working media.

    TIDBITS: Johnna Abney has now hit at least one three-pointer in 13 straight games ... The Blue Raider bench was outscored tonight, 22-5 ... Chrissy Givens has connected on 10 of her last 18 three-pointers (.555) ... Middle Tennessee's current three-game winning streak matches the longest of the season ... With six points against ULL, Tia Stovall moved into 11th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,238 career points ... The crowd of 3,806 for the Louisiana-Lafayette game is the best of the season for the Blue Raiders ... With two free throws against ULL, Latoya Barclay is now 13-of-13 from the free throw line.

    QUOTES:

    Head Coach Rick Insell:

    About the performance of Louisiana-Lafayette: "They got the type of team that will get you standing around. Jeanenne Colbert played a great game for Louisiana-Lafayette. They were able to do some things to us that we haven't seen all year when we were pressing."

    About Lafayette's last shot: "I didn't think it was good. The guy [the referee] was right on top of it and he had a better look on it than anybody."

    About Chrissy Givens' last second shot: "She's the captain of our ball club. This is her third year and she's been in a lot of situations like that."

    About Louisiana-Lafayette's style of play: "They are so athletic and they have thickness which enabled them to get some big shots on the perimeter. They did some things some other teams were unable to do to us this season."

    About Saturday's contest at New Orleans: "We can't take for New Orleans for granted. We are going down and be as focused as we were tonight."

    About Middle Tennessee being one of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference: "We never talk about where we are at in the conference. Seriously, we take one game at a time. We haven't even touched based with New Orleans. We still know the wheels can come off if we don't watch ourselves. Regardless how it goes, it's good for our players because we will become better and we are playing the tournament on our home court."

    GUARD CHRISSY GIVENS :

    Thoughts about Louisiana-Lafayette attempting to fight back in the second half: "I think last year's game was the same way. We know Lafayette will never die. We knew they would show us something different in the second half. They made us uncomfortable for a while."

    About the performance of the Ragin' Cajuns: "They matched us perfectly. They beat our press a couple of times, which is something we haven't seen. That was a challenge for us, but we overcame the challenge and it was a big boost for our confidence."

    FORWARD KRYSTLE HORTON

    About making crucial free throws for tonight's game: "I knew I had to hit those free throws because I didn't want our team to be tied. It's been something we've been working on and it paid off tonight."

    On the performance of the Blue Raider's defensively: "We played great defense. I know at times we suffered in the rebounding area, but overall we did a great job.

    About the final seconds of the game: "I knew they were going to play tough defense and try to foul us. Its nerve racking and all our fans supporting us it makes the game a lot easier."

    About tonight's win over Louisiana-Lafayette: "This was a very important game for us. We got to learn to put two tough games together and fight as hard as we did tonight."

    FORWARD TIA STOVALL:

    About winning a big Sunbelt match up at the Murphy Center on Thursday: "Lafayette is number one on their side, and we are number one on our side. Mistakes are very high when you're playing one of the best teams in the Sun Belt."

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