FORT MYERS, Fla. - Four Eagles scored in double figures and Courtney Chihil nearly recorded a triple-double as the FGCU women’s basketball team drained 15 three-pointers en route to a 73-69 win over Big Ten foe Indiana at Alico Arena on Tuesday night in front of 2,621 fans.
With the win the Blue and Green move to 9-0 and extend their best Division I start in program history, while IU falls to 6-6. The win also extends FGCU’s home winning streak to 28-games, the third longest in the nation behind UConn and Stanford.
Juniors Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./Moorhead HS) and Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/ Alter HS) finished with 16 points and 14 points, respectively. Chihil added 12 assists and nine rebounds in the win. Junior Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar HS/Seminole CC) registered a season-high 16 points and five boards in 32 minutes. Freshman Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS) pitched in with 11 points and four rebounds.
Whitney Lindsey led the Hoosiers with 16 points. Lindsey also dropped six assists and three steals.
FGCU knocked down 44 percent (15-of-34) of its three-point attempts on the night. The Eagles have drained double digit three-pointers seven times on the season and now have 100 long range makes as a team. Five different players made at least one trey for the Blue and Green, led by Griffin’s 4-of-7 night.
Chihil’s 12 assists were the most in a single-game since the program joined Division I in 2007-08 and helped the Eagles finish with a positive assist/turnover ratio (18-16) for the sixth time this season. FGCU also won the battle of the boards by a slim 33-30 margin, highlighted by 12 offensive rebounds that led to a 14-3 edge in second chance points.
The Eagles opened the first half on a 7-2 run, highlighted by a layup from Chihil and a Jacobson triple. Indiana responded with back-to-back buckets to tie the game at 7-7 with 16:22 left in the first half. Three-pointers from Griffin and Chihil gave the Blue and Green a 13-7 cushion with 15:24 left on the clock.
The Hoosiers used a 10-4 run to grab a 21-17 lead with 9:51 left to play in the opening half. Treys from Chihil and Hansen gave the lead back to the Eagles at 23-21. Trailing IU 28-23 with just 3:33 left in the half the Blue and Green outscored the Hoosiers 11-3 to close the period. FGCU’s run to close the half was highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Griffin and one triple from Murphy.
FGCU shot 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, including 8-of-20 (40 percent) from long distance. On the flipside, the Hoosiers shot 13-of-31 (41.9 percent) from the floor and were 4-of-13 (30.8-percent) from behind the arc.
Trailing 40-38 with 17:23 left in the second half, the Eagles used a 23-5 run that absorbed nearly 10 minutes to take a 16-point lead, 61-45, with just over seven minutes remaining in the game. The FGCU run saw the Eagles knock down 8-of-13 from the field, highlighted by five three-pointers.
The Hoosiers would not go down without a fight, as they employed a 24-9 run of their own that spanned 7:05 to cut the Blue and Green’s lead down to one-point, 70-69, with just 27 seconds to go in regulation. FGCU would go on to hold off Indiana by knocking down 3-of-4 from the free throw line and getting a key offensive rebound from Hansen.
Reigning Atlantic Sun Newcomer of the Week junior Sarah Whitfield (Eugene, Ore./South Eugene HS/Lane CC) chipped in with eight points and six rebounds. Senior Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) finished with six points and three assists in 35 minutes before fouling out.
The Blue and Green will return to the court on Monday, Jan. 3 when they play host to Belmont in their A-Sun home opener. Game tip at Alico Arena is set for 5:15 p.m.