FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s basketball team fought off a resilient Tulsa team Friday night, defeating the Golden Hurricane, 66-53, in the first day of the FGCU Thanksgiving Classic in front of 1,552 fans at Alico Arena. Shannon Murphy led three Eagles in double-figures with 21 points.
The Eagles (2-2) started strong on the defensive end, holding Tulsa scoreless for the first 2:50 of the game. But FGCU’s offense struggled, as a three by Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla.) was the only scoring for the Eagles in the first four minutes. A three-point field goal from Tulsa’s Tatum Beer tied the game at seven, but Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich.) quickly answered with a three of her own, giving the Eagles a 10-7 lead with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half. The Golden Hurricane (2-1) were able to draw even once again at 14 apiece with ten minutes to play in the half, mainly due to a well-executed full court press, which caused three FGCU turnovers in just over two minutes. Tulsa briefly took the lead with just under five minutes to go, but Brittany Brown (Flint, Mich.) immediately drove to the basket for an easy lay-up putting the Eagles back out in front. FGCU would use a 10-2 run near the end of the half to extend the lead, with the Eagles heading into the locker room with a 28-23 advantage.
FGCU started the second half on an 11-2 run covering the first five minutes of the half. Murphy drained a pair of three’s and hit a pair of free throws during the stint, with Griffin adding a conventional three-point play as well. The Golden Hurricane would battle back, using a 6-0 run near the midway point of the half to pull within four, but four quick points for the Eagles brought the margin back to eight. Tulsa was never able to cut the deficit to less than five for the remainder of the game, and the Eagles pulled away at the end, with a 66-53 victory.
The Golden Hurricane were led by Tiffani Couisnard’s 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Denise Lewis grabbed a team-high six rebounds and Taley Mayberry dished out a team-high four assists and added a game-high five steals.
For the Eagles, three players scored in double-figures, led by Murphy’s game-high 21 points. Brown added 14 points to go along with five boards, while Griffin chipped in 12 points. Despite scoring just six points, Adrianne McNally (Howell, Mich.) recorded game highs in rebounds (10) and assists (7).
FGCU will be back in action tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. when they take on the Broncs of Rider University in day two of the FGCU Thanksgiving Classic.