LAFAYETTE, La. -- Chrissy Givens scored 28 points to lead Middle Tennessee (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today; No. 16 AP) to a 76-50 victory over Denver in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference tournament on Monday.
Givens' two layups and a 3-pointer during a 15-2 run gave the top-seeded Blue Raiders (28-3) a 29-9 lead with just under seven minutes left in the first half. Denver trailed 43-17 at halftime.Middle Tennessee will play in Tuesday's conference final against Louisiana-Lafayette, which beat Arkansas State 62-59 in the other semifinal Monday.The Blue Raiders, who've won all 20 games against Sun Belt opponents this season, extended their lead to 39 points when Jackie Pickel hit a 3-pointer to make it 65-26 early in the second half.Nnenna Akotaobi led Denver (20-11) with 11 points.Amber Holt had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Middle Tennessee, which outrebounded the Pioneers 44-24.The Pioneers finished with 27 turnovers, which the Blue Raiders converted into 30 points.