FARMVILLE, Va. – Three Eagles scored in double figures as the Florida Gulf Coast University women’s basketball team defeated Seattle University, 51-38, in the first game of the Longwood Tournament at Willett Hall.
The Eagles (23-6 overall) led 24-23 at the half despite only shooting 8-of-26 (30.8-percent) from the field and 5-of-14 (35.7-percent) from long range through the first 20 minutes. Seattle managed to shoot 33.3-percent (6-of-18) from the field and 12.5-percent (1-of-8) from three-point range.
After giving up two quick buckets in the first 1:58 of the second half, the Blue and Green used a 14-3 run to take a 38-30 lead with 13:59 remaining. FGCU went on to outscore the Redhawks 27-15 in the second half, picking up their 23rd win of the season.
The Eagles were 9-of-22 (40.9-percent) from the field in the game’s final 20 minutes while Seattle was held to only 5-of-23 (21.7-percent).
FGCU shot 35.4-percent (17-of-48) from the field and 8-of-24 (33.3-percent) from behind the arc for the contest, compared to Seattle’s 26.8-percent (11-of-41) from the floor and 18.8-percent (3-of-16) from long range. The Eagles also outrebounded the Redhawks 39-27 for the game. Senior forward Chelsea Lyles (Colorado, Springs, Col.) scored a game-high 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Senior guard Brittany Brown (Flint, Mich.) finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, and a pair of blocks in 31 minutes of play. Junior guard Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich.) chipped in with 10 points and two boards.
Maggie McCarthy led the Redhawks with 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Eagles are back in action Sunday when they face the winner of the NCCU/Longwood matchup in the championship game of the Longwood Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Willett Hall.
With ETSU's 63-62 win over UNF in the A-Sun Championship game, the Eagles secured an automatic bid to the Postseason WNIT.
Coach Smesko and the FGCU women’s basketball team now have to wait approximately nine days to find out who, when, and where they will play in the first round of the WNIT.
The Women’s National Invitation Tournament will release its full 64-team field for the Postseason WNIT late Monday night, March 15, via the website.
The field will include 31 teams that earned an automatic berth, and 33 teams that are chosen at-large. The bracket will be released a few hours following the NCAA Tournament selection, which finishes its announcement at 8 p.m. ET Monday, March 15.
The Postseason WNIT will open with first-round games Wednesday through Friday, March 17-19. The event culminates Saturday, April 3 with the championship. All games are hosted by participating schools.