DELAND, Fla. – Courtney Chihil set a career high with 17 rebounds and Eglah Griffin scored all of her 14 points in the first half, leading the Eagles to a decisive 70-43 victory over Stetson at the Edmunds Center in DeLand, Florida. This marks the first time FGCU has won their conference opener since joining the A-Sun in 2007.
The Eagles got off to a quick start, using a pair of Adrianne McNally (Howell, Mich.) field goals to take a 6-1 lead in the opening minutes. The Hatters fought back to tie the game at six, and Stetson would keep it close until eight minutes to play in the half.
Back-to-back three-pointers, one each from Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich.) and Christina Rivette (Fenton, Mich.), just 20 seconds apart, put FGCU back out in front, 21-15. The Eagles would pull away in the final five minutes of the half, rattling off 14 consecutive points. Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla.) knocked down a pair of threes and two free throws, Brittany Brown (Flint, Mich.) converted three free throws, and Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio) added a trey during the run.
FGCU dominated the first half, shooting 41% from the field and 46% from behind the arc, while holding Stetson to just 27% from the field and 0-for-7 from three-point range. Backed by Chihil’s 11 rebounds and Griffin’s 14 points, the Eagles went into the locker room with a 38-21 lead.
The Eagles were able to maintain a comfortable lead throughout the second half, holding the advantage near 17 points through the first seven minutes. In a span of 1:45 the lead ballooned to 26 points, thanks to a pair of Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn.) three-pointers and another triple from Brown.
FGCU continued to shoot well from long distance throughout the game, as a three from Samantha Gray (Greenwood, Ark.) extended the lead to 29 points with five minutes to play, and another trey from Rivette increased it to 30 with just over three to go. The Eagles would go on to claim the 70-43 victory, opening A-Sun play with a victory for the first time in school history.
Griffin’s 14 points, all scored in the first half, were a game-high, while Chihil’s career-high 17 rebounds were also a game-high. With the 17 boards, Chihil ties Robyn Swain and Andrea Clarke for the second-most in a single game in school history. Swain still holds the FGCU record with 21 rebounds in a game, a record that has stood since 2003.
Daphnee Frieson was the lone Hatter to score in double-figures, shooting 4-of-5 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line for her 13 points. Ashli Jackson and Janelle Mills each added seven rebounds.
Next up for the Eagles is a trip to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on No. 21 Michigan State. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 13.