FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU women’s basketball team extended its home winning streak to 20 games with a 68-44 victory over the Stetson Hatters Wednesday night at Alico Arena. Reigning A-Sun Player of the Week Shannon Murphy led the Eagles with 14 points and eight assists.
With the win, FGCU improves to 15-4 overall and 10-1 in the A-Sun, while Stetson drops to 4-16 overall and 4-7 in the A-Sun. The Eagles also continue to hold a half-game lead in the conference over ETSU (9-1).
The Blue and Green held a 28-22 advantage at halftime, despite shooting just 31-percent from the floor (10-for-32). FGCU attempted 24 three-point field goals in the first half, making only six (25-percent). The Eagles took care of the ball much better than the Hatters, forcing nine Stetson turnovers while committing just four.
Head coach Karl Smesko said, “We weren’t in a good rhythm in the first half. Stetson did a good job mixing things up defensively and confusing us.”
Chelsea Lyles (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the Eagles with 10 points in the first half, including 3-of-6 from behind the arc, while Jessica Conner led the Hatters with eight.
FGCU got off to a quick start in the second half, using an Adrianne McNally (Howell, Mich.) layup and a Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich.) three to extend the lead to 11 points (33-22) just 42 seconds into the period.
After both teams had gone scoreless for nearly three minutes, the Eagles went on a 10-0 run keyed by a pair of buckets from Brittany Brown (Flint, Mich.) that put the Blue and Green in front by 20 (57-37) with 6:36 remaining. FGCU finished the game on a 9-3 run to claim a 68-44 victory.
“It seemed like everybody started clicking as soon as we got into the second half,” Smesko said. “Murphy, Lyles, and Brown all started hitting shots from everywhere.”
The Eagles were led by Murphy’s 14 points and eight assists. Lyles added 13 points and six rebounds, while McNally scored 11 points and dished out six assists.
Jessica Conner led the Hatters with a game-high 18 points and Ashli Jackson added eight points and eight boards.
FGCU hits the road for a pair of A-Sun games this weekend, beginning with a visit to Kennesaw State on Saturday, January 30, at 5 p.m. Then on Monday, February 1, the Blue and Green will travel to Macon, Ga. and take on the Bears of Mercer in a game scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. tip.
The Eagles land back at home on Thursday, February 4, for a doubleheader against the Buccaneers of ETSU. Tip-off for the women’s game is set for 5:15 p.m., with the men’s game to follow.