Adrianne McNally scored 19 points in the win
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s basketball won their 12th consecutive game on Saturday afternoon, knocking off the visiting Mercer Bears 65-58. Adrianne McNally and Kelsey Jacobson each scored 19 points for the Eagles, as they maintain their hold on first place in the Atlantic Sun.
Holding a 6-5 lead four minutes into the game, the Mercer Bears went on an 8-0 run to open up a nine point gap. The Eagles rallied back, and after Shannon Murphy hit a three with 10:02 to play in the half, FGCU pulled even with Bears at 17-17. With 6:31 to go, Adrianne McNally stepped back and connected on a three, putting the Eagles out in front 26-21. Mercer head coach Janell Jones immediately called time out, and the Bears responded. Mercer closed the half on a 12-6 run to take a slim 33-32 lead into halftime.
Chelsea Lyles knocked down a jumper 30 seconds into the second half, giving the Eagles a one-point lead. But Mercer came back quickly with a 7-0 run to take a 40-34 lead. The Bears did well to maintain a small lead for the next 14 minutes; the closest the Eagles could get was two points after a Lyles three pointer made it 44-42 with 12:09 to play, but within five minutes the Bears had extended the lead back out to nine, 52-43. From the point, slowly but surely, the Eagles continued to battle and chip away at the Mercer lead. A pair of free throws from Shannon Murphy made it 52-45. Then a three from Courtney Chihil made it 52-48. Mercer’s Natasha Doh drove for a layup to make it 54-48, but Adrianne McNally came right back with a layup of her own, cutting it to 54-50. Kelsey Jacobson hit a three, trimming the lead to just one, 54-53, with 3:41 to play. Then, at the 3:12 mark, one of the strangest plays ever inside Alico Arena occurred. After a Mercer timeout, the Bears’ Anqaneice Lewis drove to the basket for a layup, putting Mercer in front 56-53. But immediately after the basket was scored, one of the referee’s signaled no basket and assessed a technical foul, pointing towards one of the Mercer players. After some clarification, it turned out that Mercer was actually playing with six players on the court, which was the reason for the technical foul. As a result, the basket by Lewis was taken off the board, and Kelsey Jacobson was able to step to the line for a pair of free throws. Kelsey hit one of two, tying the game at 54-54. A layup from Courtney Chihil put the Eagles in front 56-54, with just under three minutes to play. Then another layup from McNally made it a four point game with exactly two minutes to go. Mercer finally stopped the run with a pair of free throws from Dominique Chism with 1:50 to play. On the Eagles next possession, FGCU ran the shot clock down to one before Jacobson hoisted up a three. It bounced off the rim right to Courtney Chihil, allowing FGCU to run another 30 seconds off the clock. With 46 seconds to go, Jacobson again shot a three and again missed, but this time she was fouled by Cristin Seymour. Kelsey calmly drained all three free throws, putting the Eagles ahead 61-56, all but ending any hopes of a Mercer comeback. FGCU would hang on for the 65-58 victory, assuring the Eagles at least another few days in first place in the Atlantic Sun.
For the Bears (13-12, 9-7), Natasha Doh led all scorers with 23 points on 9-12 shooting along with 5 rebounds. Cristin Seymour added 11 points and 7 boards, and Courtney Ford chipped in 10 points and 9 rebounds.
For the Eagles (21-4, 14-3), Adrianne McNally and Kelsey Jacobson each led the way with 19 points apiece. Shannon Murphy had a game-high 5 assists to go along with 8 points and 3 steals.
The Eagles will hit the road for their next three games, starting with a road trip to Jacksonville next week. FGCU will travel to UNF on Thursday for a game at 5:30 PM, followed by a game at Jacksonville University on Saturday at 2:00 PM. The Eagles have one home game left this season, scheduled for Saturday, February 28th at 7:00 PM against Johnson & Wales.