FORT MYERS, Fla. – Shannon Murphy finished with a career-high 28 points and eight assists, while Chelsea Lyles scored 24 points as the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated the Bears of Mercer, 84-77, extending their home winning streak to 19 games.
FGCU (14-4, 9-1 A-Sun) opened the contest with a 20-4 run. Murphy (Brighton, Mich.) and Lyles (Colorado Springs, Col.) combined for 15 points as the two connected five 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game. As a team, FGCU connected on six of their first seven 3-point attempts, while Mercer’s (10-9, 7-3 A-Sun) offense sputtered.
The Eagles took a 27-point lead after a Lyles’ 3-pointer with just under three minutes remaining in the first half (47-20).
The Blue and Green entered the half with a 50-27 lead. Murphy was nearly perfect in the first half, going 7-of-9 from the field and 6-of-8 from behind the arc to lead all scorers with 20 points in the opening frame. Lyles also added double-figures in the first half, collecting 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
In the second half, the teams went back-and-forth until the Bears used a 12-3 run to cut the Eagles down to eight (65-57) with 6:50 remaining in the game.
After a 3-pointer by Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn.) and a layup by Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio), Mercer went on a short 8-0 run to draw within five-points (72-67) with 4:26 left in the game. FGCU would outscore the Bears 12-7 over the final four minutes, clenching an 84-77 victory.
Murphy ended the game with 28 points on 9-of-14 (.643) shooting from the field and 7-of-11 (.636) from long range. Murphy’s seven triples rank her third all-time in FGCU history for three-pointers in a single game. Lyles finished with 24 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Jacobson chipped in with 10 points.
The Blue and Green shot 51.9-percent (28-of-54) from the field for the contest, compared to Mercer’s 48.1-percent (26-of-54).
The Eagles are back in action this Wednesday when they host Stetson in the first game of a double header with men’s basketball. Tip-off for the women’s game is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at Alico Arena.