JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The FGCU women’s basketball team lost an Atlantic Sun conference game for the first time in over a year Saturday, falling at East Tennessee State, 88-83. Chelsea Lyles set a new career-high with 25 points and the Eagles made 15 three-pointers as a team, their highest total on the season.
The last A-Sun loss for the Eagles (12-4, 7-1 A-Sun) also came at the hands of the Lady Bucs (8-7, 6-1 A-Sun) on January 8, 2009, when ETSU defeated FGCU 75-67 at Alico Arena. The Blue and Green won 22 consecutive A-Sun games between the two losses.
Chelsea Lyles (Colorado Springs, Colo.) set a new career-high with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-6 from behind the arc. Brittany Brown (Flint, Mich.) scored a season-high 19 points off the bench, shooting 5-of-8 from three-point land. As a team, the Eagles made a season-high 15 three-point field goals out of 31 attempts (48.4-percent).
FGCU started strong, opening up a 10-point lead 6:29 into the game (16-6). ETSU would quickly erase that lead, scoring 10 straight points in less than three minutes taking a three-point lead (19-16) with 10:39 remaining in the first half.
A three from Tarita Gordon gave the Lady Bucs a seven-point lead (36-29) with 4:28 left in the half, and ETSU would end up taking a six-point advantage into the halftime break (44-38).
ETSU’s TaRonda Wiles hit a three with 12:20 to play, putting the Lady Bucs in front by 12 (66-54), the largest lead of the game for either team. Just 1:29 later, Lyles would connect on one of her four treys to cap an 8-0 run for the Blue and Green, cutting the lead to just four points (66-62) with 10:31 left in the game.
After ETSU extended the lead to eight points, another 8-0 run for the Eagles tied the game at 72 apiece with 6:47 remaining. Lyles converted three free throws and Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio) drilled a triple during the run.
The Lady Bucs quickly regained the lead, slowly building up a seven-point lead (84-77) with 2:47 to play. A glimmer of hope would come for FGCU when Lyles hit a three with 1:02 left, trimming the margin to just three points (86-83). Adrianne McNally (Howell, Mich.) missed a layup with 11 seconds remaining, and ETSU would hang on to win, 88-83.
Tara Davis led the Lady Bucs with 21 points, while Siarre Evans recorded a double-double with 20 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Gordon (18 points) and Wiles (17 points) also reached double-figures in scoring for ETSU.
The Eagles land back at home on Thursday, January 21, when they play host to the Owls of Kennesaw State University. FGCU then welcomes the Bears of Mercer University on Saturday, January 23. Both A-Sun games are set for a 7:05 p.m. tip-off.