Middle Tenn. routs S. Alabama, extends school record

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Amber Holt scored 27 points, and Middle Tennessee (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today; No. 20 AP) State extended its school record to 18 straight victories on Saturday by beating South Alabama 86-58.

The Blue Raiders (21-3, 13-0 Sun Belt Conference) scored the first 10 points and never trailed in extending the nation's third-longest winning streak. Only No. 2 North Carolina (24) and No. 1 Duke (22) have longer streaks this season.

Middle Tennessee has not lost a conference game at home since a double overtime loss to Western Kentucky on Feb. 5, 2004. The Blue Raiders won their 32nd conference home game in 33 tries by outshooting South Alabama (11-12, 5-8) and forcing 23 turnovers with 15 steals.

They led 37-26 at halftime and hit 61.5 percent of their shots in the second half to put away the victory. Their biggest lead was 30 at 80-50 on a three-point play by Lakira Boyd.

Chrissy Givens added 16 points and five steals for Middle Tennessee, which has not lost since Nov. 26 at Tennessee. Starr Orr added 11 points.

Shakira Nettles led South Alabama with 18 points, and Monique Jones had 14.