FORT MYERS, Fla. – Redshirt-freshman Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS) scored a game-high 18 points as the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Belmont, 67-50, in the CSS/Atlantic Sun Game of the Week on Monday night at the Curb Event Center.
With the win the Blue and Green move to 17-1 overall (10-1 A-Sun), while the Bruins fall to 7-15 overall (4-9 A-Sun).
The Blue and Green, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (11.2), knocked down nine trey balls on the night. FGCU’s defense forced Belmont into 24 turnovers and went on to score 31 points off of BU’s miscues. Belmont’s 50 points mark the 13th time the Eagles, who lead the conference in scoring defense (54.8 ppg), have held an opponent below 60 points this season.
Hansen finished with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, including hitting 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. Hansen also added four rebounds and four steals in 30 minutes. Junior Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar HS/Seminole CC) registered 15 points in just 19 minutes of play. Junior Nicoya Jackson (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS/Southwestern Christian) recorded 10 points and a pair of rebounds.
Whitney Seals, one of two Bruins to score in double figures, finished with a team-high 17 points.
The Eagles opened the game with a 14-4 run, capped by jumper from senior Shavonne Butler (New Orleans, La./McDonogh HS/Hill College).The Bruins responded with a 10-2 run of their own to cut the FGCU lead to 16-14 with 9:09 left in the opening half. Back-to-back layups from Hansen and redshirt-freshman Kiara Bomben (Canberra, Australia/Ankeny HS) gave the Blue and Green a six point cushion at 20-14.
Leading the Bruins 23-20, the Eagles outscored Belmont 5-3 to close out the final two minutes of the half to take a 5-point lead (28-23) at the break.
The Blue and Green have held nine of their 11 A-Sun opponents to 27 points or less in the first half so far this season. The Eagles have also outscored their 11 conference opponents 407-272 in the first 20 minutes in 2010-11.
Belmont shot 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) from the field in the first half. FGCU has held the opposition to single-digit first half field goals 10 times during the 2010-11 campaign.
FGCU shot 11-of-26 (42.3 percent) from the floor in the first half, including just 2-of-10 (20 percent) from long distance. After Shaunda Strayhorn drained a three-pointer to open the second half and cut the FGCU lead to just 28-26, the Blue and Green used a 37-15 run, capped by back-to-back triples from Griffin, to grab their largest lead of the game (24 points), 65-41, with 5:34 left in the game.
Belmont fought back and closed the game out on a 9-2 run, but the FGCU went on to pick up their 10th conference win (67-50).
The Blue and Green will return to the court on Saturday, Feb. 5 when they host the Spartans of USC Upstate (12-9 overall, 8-4 A-Sun) at Alico Arena. Tip is set for 7:05 p.m. and the game can be seen live ASun.TV.