NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Adrianne McNally scored 20 points and Chelsea Lyles recorded a double-double as the Belmont Bruins snapped FGCU’s five-game winning streak by defeating the Eagles 60-55 Monday night at the Curb Event Center.
With the win Belmont improves to 9-4 overall and 4-0 in conference, while FGCU falls to 9-3 overall and 2-2 in the A-Sun.
The second ever meeting between the two programs started slowly with the teams trading shots at the free-throw line in the opening 60 seconds before both teams got hot from behind the arc. A pair of three pointers by Amber Rockwell put the Bruins on top, 8-4. Belmont then fell into a scoring drought that allowed the Eagles to grab a two-point lead. By the 11 minute mark, the Bruins took advantage of a three and half minute Eagles' scoring drought and managed to knot the score at 15.
The score would stalemate for a fourth time, this time at 20, but a bucket in the paint by Haley Nelson put the Bruins on top again and stretch the team's run to 9-0. McNally (Howell, Mich.) kept FGCU in the game with back-to-back trips to the free-throw line but a lay-in by Crystal Kesler would be the final shot of the half, sending the teams to the locker rooms with Belmont on top, 28-22.
Florida Gulf Coast came out aggressive after the break and immediately began chipping away at Belmont's lead. However, Rockwell’s success from beyond the three-point arc kept the Bruins ahead for most of the half. With the Eagles increasing the defensive pressure on Rockwell, FGCU combined their attack on Rockwell with a 7-2 run to knot the game at 50 with less than four and a half minutes left in regulation.
The Eagles put an end to Rockwell's outside game but she drove into the paint and drew the foul with 3:41 left in the contest. Her three-point play gave the Bruins the lead. FGCU was able to tie the game once again with 1:23 remaining on the clock with a three pointer by Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich.). Bobbitt was fouled underneath the basket on the next possession and was able to knock down both attempts to give BU a two-point edge, 57-55, with about one minute left in regulation.
The Eagles tried to hold on for one of the last shots of the half but McNally was called for traveling with 45 second remaining. Belmont pushed the ball up court and burned nearly 20 seconds off the clock before Rockwell found Kristin Bunch, who knocked down a trey from the corner to put the game out of reach. McNally attempted the final shot of the game but her lay-up bounced off the rim, giving Belmont the 60-55 victory.
The Eagles shot 27.6 percent from the floor, 25.8 percent from behind the three-point line and 60 percent from the free-throw line. Belmont shot 30.8 percent from the floor, 22.2 percent from three-point range and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe.
McNally, who played 37 minutes on the night, led the Eagles with 20 points and added eight rebounds. Lyles (Colorado Springs, Col.) picked up her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 boards. Murphy chipped in with 12 points in the loss.
Rockwell, who knocked down five three pointers during the contest, led BU with a career-high matching 29 points.
FGCU returns to action on Thursday, January 8 at Alico Arena. The Eagles host the Lady Bucs of East Tennessee State beginning at 5 p.m.