PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Senior Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) scored a game-high 21 points as the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Montana, 68-52, on Saturday morning in their final game of the 2010 Caribbean Challenge.
With the win, the Eagles improve their record to 4-0, while the Lady Griz fall to 2-4.
Murphy, in her best performance so far this season, led the Blue and Green with a season-high 21 points, while dishing out three assists. Freshman Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS) had another solid performance with 11 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals in 26 minutes. Junior Nicoya Jackson (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS/Southwestern Christian) turned in her best performance as an Eagle with 13 points and five boards. Junior Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./Moorhead HS) recorded nine points, while classmate Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS) finished with eight points and eight assists. Junior Lerrin Cook (Kearny, Ariz./Ray HS/Yavapai College) picked up her first points for the Blue and Green as she drained a pair of key three-pointers and finished with six points.
The Eagles used a quick 10-0 run, highlighted by a pair of Murphy triples, to jump on the Lady Griz early. FGCU held Montana scoreless through the first 5:04 of the game, until a layup from Jordan Sullivan gave the Lady Griz their first bucket (10-2). Trailing 18-7 the Lady Griz used an 8-0 run to cut the FGCU lead down to three points (18-15). The Blue and Green went on to outscore Montana 13-9 over the final 5:34 of the opening stanza, thanks to solid free throw shooting and treys from Murphy and juniors Nicoya Jackson (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS/Southwestern Christian) and Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./Moorhead HS), to take a 31-24 lead at halftime.
In the second half the Eagles caught fire from the floor and cranked up their defensive intensity. FGCU used a 29-12 run over the first 11:56 of the second half to grab their largest lead of the contest (24) and went on to take down the Lady Griz 68-52 to wrap up the 2010 Caribbean Challenge.
The Eagles shot 36.5 (23-of-63) percent from the floor and 30.2 (13-of-43) percent from beyond the arc. FGCU was outrebounded 41-33, but forced Montana into 22 turnovers while only committing 12 miscues.
The Blue and Green return to action in a few days when they hit the road to open conference play in Jacksonville, Fla. The Eagles take on UNF on Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m. and will face Jacksonville on Dec. 4 at 1 p.m.
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