JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Four Eagles scored in double figures and every FGCU player that saw playing time scored at least three points as the FGCU women’s basketball team dominated Jacksonville en route to a convincing 98-47 win at Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Eagles improve their record to 6-0 overall and 2-0 A-Sun, while the loss snaps JU’s five-game winning streak and drops the Dolphins to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in conference.
“We really executed at a high level in the first half,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “We really worked to get good shots. We did a good job defensively and on the boards. It was also good to see our bench make positive contributions.”
In their first A-Sun roadtrip of the 2010-11 campaign (at UNF and at JU), FGCU was extremely efficient shooting the ball and played lock down defense. The Eagles averaged 85.5 points and shot 60-of-106 (56.6-percent) from the floor and 23-of-46 (50-percent) from behind the three-point line, while limiting their opponents to just 31.3-percent (35-of-112) shooting from the field and 24.3-percent (9-of-37) from long distance. FGCU also outrebounded the opposition 75-66 and forced 41 turnovers.
Freshman Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS), in just her sixth collegiate game, put a stamp on her nomination for next week’s A-Sun Player of the Week award as she led the Blue and Green in scoring for the third time this season with a team-high 15 points. The Edinboro, Pa. native, shot 7-of-10 from the field and registered six rebounds and three assists. Senior Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) also poured in a team-high 15 points. Murphy hit 6-of-12 shots from the floor to go with a team-high four assists and three steals. Junior Nicoya Jackson (Houston Texas/Cypress Springs HS/Southwestern Christian College) scored a season-high 14 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Junior Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./Moorhead HS) finished with 12 points and four assists. Junior Sarah Whitfield (Eugene, Ore./South Eugene HS/Lane CC) picked up her first points in the FGCU Blue and Green, registering nine points on 3-of-3 shooting from three-point range.
The Eagles opened the game on an 11-5 run, capped by a layup from Jacobson, forcing JU to call for a 30-second timeout (16:05). The Blue and Green burned the net in the beginning of the half, making their first six shots and not missing a field goal until the 14:59 mark.
After a three-point play from JU’s Taneskei Richardson made the score 13-10 in favor of the visitors, the Eagles caught fire and cranked up their defensive pressure. FGCU used a 37-8 run, including scoring 14 consecutive points at one point, over the final 14:36 of the opening stanza to take a commanding 50-18 lead heading into the locker room at halftime. The Blue and Green shot 9-of-13 from the field (69.2-percent) and 5-of-11 (45.5-percent) from three-point range during the run. Murphy, Jacobson and Hansen all scored double figure points in the first half with 13, 12 and 10 points, respectively.
FGCU’s 50 first half points are the most the team has scored in the opening 20 minutes of a game this season. The Blue and Green shot 20-of-31 (64.5-percent) from the floor and 5-of-11 (45.5-percent) from long distance, while limiting the Dolphins to just 33.3-percent (8-of-24) from the floor and 12.5-percent (1-of-8) from behind the arc. FGCU scored 30 points in the paint and forced JU into 17 first half turnovers, while just committing seven miscues of their own.
In the second half, the Eagles continued their solid overall play. The Blue and Green extended their lead to as many as 52 points and closed out the final 5:16 of the game on a 20-9 run to defeat the Ospreys by the final score of 98-47.
The Eagles shot 60.7-percent (34-of-56) from the floor and 57.9-percent (11-of-19) from beyond the arc, while limiting JU to a dismal 17-of-50 (34-percent) from the field and 4-of-15 (26.7-percent) from three-point range. The Blue and Green limited the Dolphins to just 12.5-percent (1-of-8) from long distance in the first half. FGCU won the rebounding battle 36-28 and forced Jacksonville to 26 miscues. The Eagles also tallied 42 points in the paint, recorded 15 steals and scored 26 points off of JU turnovers.
The Blue and Green return to action on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 12) when they take on the Troy Trojans for the second time this season. Tip-off at Troy’s Sartain Hall is schedule for 2 p.m.
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