FORT MYERS, Fla. – In the worst A-Sun loss of ETSU women’s basketball history the FGCU women’s basketball team grabbed a one-and-a-half game lead in the conference, with a 92-55 victory over East Tennessee State on Thursday night in front of 1,346 fans at Alico Arena.
The FGCU women set a new school record scoring a 62.5-percent field-goal percentage, surpassing the previous school record of 61.4-percent set at Puerto Rico - Cayey on February 2, 2007.
With the win the Eagles improve to 18-4 overall and 13-1 in the A-Sun, while the Lady Bucs drop to 13-8 overall and 11-2 in conference play. The Blue and Green also extended their home winning streak to 21 games, tied for the fifth-longest active streak in Division I.
After Siarre Evans scored the first two points of the contest the Eagles went on a 13-2 run, taking a 13-4 lead and prompting ETSU head coach Karen Kemp to call her first timeout just 6:05 into the game. Brittany Brown (Flint, Mich.) buried a pair of threes and hit two free throws during the run.
Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn.) drilled one her four treys with 11:17 to play in the half, giving FGCU a 22-8 lead which forced yet another ETSU timeout. A layup by Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio) extended the lead to 31-12 and brought the crowd to its feet, again prompting the Lady Bucs to call their third timeout with 7:11 left in the first.
The Blue and Green ended the half on a 10-4 run, capped by a Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich.) three-pointer with 8 seconds left, giving the Eagles a 54-27 lead at the halftime break.
The 54 points at halftime were the most points that FGCU has scored in the first half of a game since moving to Division I in 2007. The previous high was 53 points against USC Upstate on Feb. 5, 2009.
Everything the Eagles touched in the first half was golden. The FGCU women shot a blistering 71.4-percent (20-of-28), including 7-of-12 (58.3-percent) from behind the arc. The Blue and Green also went 100-percent (7-of-7) from the free throw line and accumulated 17 assists. ETSU shot 38-percent (12-of-32) from the field and made just 1-of-7 (14-percent) from three-point land.
The Eagles opened the second half on a 6-2 run, widening the gap to 31 points (60-29) with 17:17 to play. A Chihil three extended the lead to 35 points (78-43), prompting the fifth and final timeout from coach Kemp with 10:04 left on the clock.
The Blue and Green held the Lady Bucs scoreless for the final 6:03 of the game, ending on an 8-0 run, and claiming a 92-55 victory.
The 92 points scored are the third-most for FGCU since moving to Division I. The Eagles scored 102 points at USC Upstate on Feb. 5, 2009, and 97 points against Johnson & Wales on Feb. 28, 2009.
In what could best be described as a shooting clinic five Eagles reached double-figures in scoring, led by McNally’s 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting. McNally also added six boards and six assists. Brown shot 5-of-7 from the field for 17 points, and Jacobson scored 14 points. Lyles added 13 points and Chihil chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Siarre Evans registered a double-double for the Lady Bucs, scoring 12 points and pulling down a game-high 12 boards, before fouling out with 5:06 left in the game. TaRonda Wiles scored 14 points and Gwen Washington added 10 points.
The Eagles look to pick up another conference win on Saturday, February 6, when they take on the Camels of Campbell University at Alico Arena. This will also be another Eagle hoops doubleheader, and the men take to the court first with a scheduled tip at 5:15 p.m. against Campbell. The women’s game is set to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of the men’s game.