FORT MYERS, Fla. – All five starters scored in double figures and FGCU drained 15 three-pointers en route to an 81-65 Atlantic Sun win over ETSU in front of a program regular season record 2,921 fans at Alico Arena in the A-Sun/CSS Game of the Week.
With the win, the Blue and Green move to 19-1 overall (12-1 A-Sun) and take a three-game lead in the A-Sun standings, while the Lady Bucs fall to 14-10 overall (11-4 A-Sun). The win also extends FGCU’s home winning streak to 34-games, the third longest in the nation behind UConn and Stanford.
The Blue and Green, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (11.1), knocked down 15 trey balls on the night. FGCU’s defense forced ETSU into 23 turnovers and went on to score 28 points off of the Bucs miscues.
Senior Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) tied her season-high with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range. Murphy also added five assists and three steals in 38 minutes. Junior Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./Moorhead HS), who became FGCU’s all-time leader in career three-pointers during the night, chipped in with 20 points and banged in 6-of-14 shots from behind the arc.
Junior Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS) followed up her career performance in FGCU’s last game (22 points; vs. Upstate on Feb.5) with a 13-point, 10-rebound and nine-assist night. Redshirt-freshman Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS) finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, while junior Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar HS/Seminole CC) registered 11 points and five boards.
Destiny Mitchell, one of three Bucs to score in double figures, finished with a team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The teams battled to a 13-13 tie over the first 5:21 of the game. A 9-2 run, that burned 3:44 off of the game clock, gave the Lady Bucs their largest lead of the game (seven points), at 22-15.
With the score knotted at 31-31, marking the sixth tie of the first half, the Eagles employed an 8-2 run to close out the final 4:03 of the opening stanza to take a 39-33 lead into the locker room at the break.
ETSU shot 15-of-30 (50 percent) from the field and just 2-of-6 from distance in the opening half. The Eagles have outscored their 13 conference opponents 478-333 in the first 20 minutes in 2010-11.
FGCU shot 13-of-31 (41.9 percent) from the floor in the first half, including hitting 47.1 percent (8-of-17) of their attempts from behind the three-point line.
The Blue and Green opened the second half with a 14-6 run to grab a 53-39 lead with 16:36 left in regulation. After the Lady Bucs trimmed the Blue and Green’s lead to 62-51 with under nine minutes left in regulation, the Eagles used another run (15-5), highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Jacobson, to take their largest lead of the game (21 points), 77-56.
Head Coach Karl Smesko pulled his starters out of the game to a standing ovation from the colorful Alico Arena crowd, that was covered in pink to support WBCA’s “Pink Zone” initiative. The contest was also FGCU’s “Pack the House” game, which is a national effort in which conferences and institutions compete to build attendance with one winner from each conference receiving awards, while also having the NCAA donate $500 to a non-profit organization of their choice.
The Blue and Green will head to Georgia for a two-game road trip. The Eagles will take on the Bears of Mercer (1-21, 1-12 A-Sun) on Saturday, Feb. 12 (2 p.m.), before heading to Kennesaw, Ga. to battle the Kennesaw State Owls (7-14, 4-9 A-Sun) in a Valentines Day showdown on Monday, Feb. 14 (7 p.m.).