FGCU Women's Hoops Set to Host FGCU Holiday Classic
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
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Junior Jackie Thiel and the Eagles take on UTPA on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
Junior Jackie Thiel and the Eagles take on UTPA on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU women's basketball team will host the 2007 FGCU Holiday Classic Dec. 20-21 in Alico Arena. The field of teams participating in the tournament includes FGCU, Loyola-Chicago, Memphis, Texas Pan-American.

The tournament begins on Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. when Loyola-Chicago takes on Memphis. FGCU will host UTPA in game two. Tip-off for game two is set for 7 p.m. The consolation game (Loser of Game. 2 vs. Loser of Game 1) will be on Dec. 21 at 5 p.m and the championship game (Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 1) is set for a 7 p.m. start.

Last Time Out (Dec. 17): FGCU Women Knocked Off by FAMU, 71-52

Tallahassee, Fla. - Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich) scored a team-high 11 points as the FGCU women's basketball team fell to the Florida A&M Lady Rattlers at Gaither Gym, by the final score of 71-52.

The Eagles fall to 3-5 overall, while the Lady Rattlers improve to 9-1.

For the game, the Eagles shot only 33.3 percent, connecting on 16-of-48 attempts from the field. Murphy (Brighton, Mich.) registered two rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block, to go along with her team-high 11 points. Delia De La Torre (Las Cruces, N.M.) finished with 10 points and dished out five assists in 33 minutes of action.

Joslyne Jackson and Stephanie Foster led FAMU with 27 points and 17 points, respectively. Jackson shot 11-of-20 (55 percent) from the field and added four rebounds and four assists, while Foster shot 8-of-9 (88.9 percent) from the floor. For the game, the Lady Rattlers collectively shot 49.2 percent (30-of-61) from the field, including 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from long-distance.

FAMU came out firing, as they began the game on a 10-2 run and forced FGCU to call a timeout at the 17:25 mark. Coming out of the timeout, the Lady Rattlers continued their dominance and went on to outscore the Eagles 19-8 thru the first 8:34 of the first half. The Eagles struggled offensively and FAMU took advantage of 11 FGCU first half turnovers and went into the locker room at halftime with a 42-23 lead.

The Eagles shot only 30 percent (6-of-20) from the field, while FAMU shot 19-of 35 (54.3 percent) from the field and 3-of-7 (42.9 percent) from three-point range in the first half.

In the second half, the Eagles looked like a totally different team. FGCU forced FAMU into nine second half turnovers and eventually cut the Lady Rattlers down to eight with 5:58 remaining in the game. The Lady Rattlers finished off the game with a 14-3 run and won by the final score.

News & Notes on UTPA:

- Senior LeKeisha Gray is currently ranked fifth among Division I women’s basketball programs in three-point field goals per game with 3.1 percent.

- Gray has hit 22 of her 53 three-point attempts this season. The 5’4 guard recorded a career-high 24 points, inlcuding six three-pointers in a 62-56 victory over Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 3.

- Tiona Wilson ranks second in three-point field goal percentage with 56 percent, banking 14 of her 25 attempts from behind the arc.

- Wilson recorded a career-high 22 points and seven three-pointers in a triumph over Huston-Tillotson on Nov. 17.

Last Game - Inside McNeese State (2-9)

LeKeisha Gray’s game-high 24 points, including eight straight points in overtime led the Lady Broncs to a 71-64 victory over Southland Conference opponent-McNeese State at the UTPA Fieldhouse on Thursday evening.

Two three-pointers by McNeese State opened the first half as the Lady Broncs quickly found themselves in a six point deficit until Gray put UTPA on the scoreboard with her first of six three-pointers, making the score 6-3 at the 16:02 mark.

The Cowgirls continued to run over the Lady Broncs in the first half as they extended to their biggest lead of 10. UTPA would cut into the lead after a pair of back-to-back treys from behind the arc by junior Teshay Winfrey and a free throw by Rose Esther Jean, making the score 28-23 heading into the locker rooms.

Tiona Wilson opened the second half for the Lady Broncs with a three at the 19:08 mark, making the score 28-26. The Lady Broncs battled from behind throughout the early minutes of the second half before a jumper in the paint by Aleeya Grigsby with 8:13 left in the game put UTPA on top, 48-47 giving the Lady Broncs their first lead of the game.

McNeese fired straight back with a three by Courtnee’ Hollins putting the Cowgirls back on top 50-48 with 7:55 remaining in regulation. The momentum changing shot came from forward Danielle Kostacky who connected on a three-pointer at the top of the key to put the Lady Broncs up by one, 54-53.

The Lady Broncs floor general, Gray connected on her fourth three of the night putting UTPA within three. With time winding down, a missed jumper by Reeshimah Davis gave the Lady Broncs hope as the final shot was taken by Wilson, who knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 62-62 and head into overtime.

Gray took total control of the court as she collected eight of her 24 points in overtime and led the Lady Broncs to their fifth straight victory.

UTPA Statistical Leaders

Points: LeKeisha Gray 15.6 ppg, Tiona Wilson 8.5 ppg

Assists: LeKeisha Gray 3.7 apg, Tiona Wilson 3.0 apg

Rebounds: LeKeisha Gray 4.1 rpg, Aleeya Grigsby 4.0 rpg

News & Notes on Loyola-Chicago:

Last Game @ DePaul (Dec. 8) - L, 93-51

The visiting Ramblers continued their skid as Loyola dropped a 93-51 decision at DePaul on Saturday evening at McGrath Arena. With the loss the Ramblers fall to 1-8 on the season, while the Blue Demons improve to 7-0.

The Ramblers started off strong, alternating baskets with the Blue Demons for the first six minutes of action. With a trio of baskets from sophomore Maggie McCloskey, freshman Brittany Boeke and junior Jana Lucas, Loyola was able to pull within one (12-11), but a 23-4 DePaul run would put the Blue Demons up 35-15 with just under nine minutes left in the first half. The relentless Ramblers fought back, but without their usual starters, could not capitalize.

“DePaul is a very talented team. You can’t go up against them without all of your starters. With Keisha [Collins] and Shannon [Finnegan] missing, it made a huge difference,” head coach Shannon Reidy said.

Loyola battled throughout the first half, but the Blue Demons forced 14 turnovers and held the Ramblers to just 38.5% shooting in the first frame. DePaul held the Rambler offense scoreless for nearly three minutes while stretching it’s lead to 45-19. A three-point shot by DePaul’s Erin Cattell at the buzzer, would send the Ramblers into the locker room down 53-26.

The second half was much of the same for the struggling Ramblers as DePaul held Loyola scoreless for nearly five minutes as the Blue Demons cruised to a 84-43 lead with just over six minutes left in the game. The Ramblers woes continued as they eventually fell to DePaul 93-51.

“Offensively, we didn’t execute well that is something that we need to do a better job at,” Reidy said. “We missed some lay-ups and never got into an offensive flow.”

Boeke led the Ramblers offensively with 13 points and five rebounds while sophomore Jessica Hylton added nine points and seven boards for the Ramblers.

China Threatt paced the Blue Demons with 16 points and a pair of rebounds while Allie Quigley and Deirdre Naughton notched 15 points apiece.

Loyola-Chicago Statistical Leaders

Points: Maggie McCloskey 11.2 ppg, Elyse VanBogaert 11.1 ppg

Assists: Keisha Collins 4.3 apg, Maggie McCloskey 3.0 apg

Rebounds: Brittany Boeke 6.8 rpg, Taryn Randle 5.6 rpg

News & Notes on Memphis:

Last Game @ Arkansas (Dec. 18) - L, 91-66

Opening the game on a 26-6 run, the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team remains perfect at 12-0 following a 91-66 win over Memphis Tuesday night. All five Razorback starters scored double-digit points, and the Lady Razorbacks capped the game with a 52-26 rebounding advantage.

“We did a better job of cutting down on our turnovers, finishing with just 11. We focused all week on closing out to our man and boxing them out, but you have to hand it to Arkansas, they just went out and got the ball and held us to one and done looks.”

Memphis had just two rebounds in the first 9:05 of the game, as Whitney Jones and Lauren Ervin dominated the glass early on, getting Arkansas out in to transition, where they scored 16 points off the fast break and 44 points in the paint. On the times Memphis was able to stop the transition game, the Lady Razorbacks relied on the high-low game that featured the biggest tandem inside that Memphis is likely to see this year.

“The combination of Jones and Ervin work so well together,” Savage said. “When you defend them, you almost have to choose which one to defend when you’re undersized. They are easily the most talented 4-5 combination we’ve seen so far and are possibly the best combo we’ll see this year.”

Memphis found some momentum and dug out of a 19-point hole just before the half ended, off a pair of three-point field goals. But the six points in the last minute cut the deficit to 44-30.

But Arkansas came back out following the break and went right back inside, scoring 22 of their 44 second half points in the paint. Memphis countered with a press, which was effective in forcing Arkansas in to 18 turnovers, but the Lady Tigers shot just 32.4 percent from the field, hitting 12 of 37 shots, while Arkansas hit 51.5 percent from the field, with four of those points coming off breaking the press.

Paris Leonard led Memphis with 14 points, adding two blocks, two steals and four rebounds. Jessica Hall added 13 points, while Latoya Bullard added 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting. Jessica Jackson added 10 rebounds, but go in to first half foul trouble. She added a block and a steal in 18 minutes.

Memphis Statistical Leaders

Points: Ashley Thornton 12.8 ppg, Paris Leonard 12.6 ppg

Assists: LaToya Bullard 4.0 rpg,Alex Winchell 3.1 rpg

Rebounds: Ashley Thornton 8.1 rpg,Aroha Jennings 5.0 rpg