All-America candidate Chrissy Givens, who went down in the second half in Middle Tennessee's win over Troy University on Saturday, scored a season high 32 points (just 4 from her career-high) on 13-of-20 shooting.
"I had lots of people praying for me," said the www.BlueRaiderZone.com Player of the Game Givens "and He heard the prayers."
Givens, who connected on one 3-pointer, garnered 8 assists and 4 steals, to go along with 4 rebounds. Givens moved in to the 7th spot on the career-scoring list at MTSU, passing Sharon McClanahan (75-79) and Stephanie Capley (87-91).
"Dadgummit, Chrissy just goes out and gets it done," said MT head coach Rick Insell. "We owe a lot to Dr. Tommy Johns. We received the final verdict on Monday, and there's no tear and no damage on the knee."
Blue Raider junior Amber Holt added to the onslaught, making 9-of-14 from the field and scoring 19 points. "Downtown" Brandi Brown continued her solid play from beyond the arc, nailing 4 treys and adding 16 points. Chelsia Lymon notched 9 points on 3 trifectas.
FIU 6-3 senior Lasma Jekabsone, a 2nd Team Preseason Sun Belt Conference player, came into the game averaging 13.5 points, but only managed 4 points against the Lady Raiders' stifling defensive pressure.
"We got Jekabsone in foul trouble, which is something we wanted to do," said Insell. "You don't do that by looking at her, but by taking it to her."
"It is hard to shoot over Jekabsone," said Givens, "but we did".
FIU committed a season high 29 turnovers, which led to a 38-10 surplus for MTSU. Jekabsone had 4 turnovers and shot just 2-of-6 from the field.
Murfreesboro, TN, senior Krystle Horton was a behemoth on the boards, pulling down 8 rebounds, and tallying 8 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Starr Orr, who saw limited action due to foul trouble, kept FIU's best player at bay, according to Insell. She had 4 boards, 3 steals, and 2 assists with no turnovers.
The Golden Panthers (9-6, 3-2) led 10-8 with 14:14 left in the first half on a Jekabsone lay-up, but the Lady Raiders went on a 24-4 run over a 7:30 span midway through the first period to take a 32-14 advantage. The teams swapped a few buckets until the half, and MT took a 38-22 lead into the locker room.
Middle Tennessee, ranked 15th by RealTimeRPI.com, increased its lead to 20+ in the second half at the 17:22 mark, and never looked back, increasing the lead to as many as 40 before Insell cleared the bench at the 3:32 juncture.
South Broward's LaQuetta Ferguson's 16 points led the Lady Panthers, while Eva Makela tossed in 8. FIU, whose assistant coach Joanne Aluka-White was a former MTSU standout (97-02), was out-rebounded for just the second time this season, 37-29. MT's win was only the second time in 7 tries versus FIU at Pharmed Arena.
"Like coach says, we lead with our heads. We are not afraid. FIU gave us a good look at what we'll face in the NCAA Tournament, " said Givens. "This roadtrip prepares us for the SBC Tournament, playing 3 games on the road in 5 days".
Middle Tennessee has the 6th-ranked scoring offense in the nation as of 1/7/07. The Lady Raiders are 2nd in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (9.5), and 10th in turnovers. Johnna Abney is 7th in the nation in 3-pointer percentage.
The Lady Raiders continue their road swing with a meeting at FAU (4-13, 0-5) in Boca Raton on Thursday at 6pm Central Time.
Coach Insell cannot wait until his team gets back home to Murfreesboro and the friendly confines of the Glass House.
"Let's push about 7,000 fans in Murphy Center when we get home on Thursday (January 18 at 7pm) against a very good Arkansas State team".