FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s basketball team took home the FGCU Thanksgiving Classic title Saturday night by defeating Rider, 78-46, in front of 1,464 fans at Alico Arena. With the win, the Eagles improve to 3-2 while Rider drops to 1-5.
FGCU started strong, opening up a 6-0 lead in the game’s first three minutes. Brittany Brown (Flint, Mich.) highlighted the offense, connecting on her first three shots, including a jumper with 12:06 remaining that extended the lead to 16-9. Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn.) knocked down back-to-back three’s extending the lead to 26-15 with 8:25 left in the half, prompting Rider head coach Lynn Milligan to call for a timeout. The timeout would not slow the Eagles momentum as the defense continued to hold the Broncs scoreless for a span of more than six minutes, during which FGCU scored 14 unanswered points. After trading baskets for the final three minutes of the half, the Blue and Green held a 45-25 lead.
The Eagles kept their foot on the gas in the second, starting the period on a 13-2 run keyed by a trio of three-point field goals from Griffin. With just under ten minutes to go, Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio) buried a trey that put FGCU in front 67-36. The lead would hover near 30 points for the remainder of the game, with the Eagles eventually claiming a 78-46 win. FGCU’s victory coupled with Akron’s loss earlier in the day gave the title of FGCU Thanksgiving Classic champions to the Eagles.
FGCU’s defense was stout throughout the tournament, holding both Tulsa and Rider under 35% shooting and forcing 39 total turnovers.
Amanda Sepulveda led the Broncs with 11 points in addition to grabbing six rebounds. Caitlin Bopp pulled down a game-high nine boards coupled with eight points.
The Eagles were led by Griffin’s game-high 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting including 4-of-8 from behind the arc. Chihil and Adrianne McNally (Howell, Mich.) each grabbed a team-high six rebounds, and McNally added 11 points and a game-high six assists.
FGCU will be back in action next Saturday as they open conference play on the road at Stetson. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.
FGCU Thanksgiving Classic Tournament Team
Tatum Beer - Tulsa
Kara Murphy - Akron
Amanda Sepulveda - Rider
Brittany Brown - FGCU
Adrianne McNally - FGCU
MVP - Eglah Griffin - FGCU