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Records, Threes Fall As FGCU Defeats Mercer, 87-52
Eagles remain unbeaten with record-setting performance from long range
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU women’s basketball team knocked down a 2010-11 NCAA single-game high 20 three-pointers on a NCAA Division I record 55 long range attempts en route to a 87-52 Atlantic Sun win over Mercer on Monday night in front of 1,660 fans at Alico Arena.
The Eagles’ 20 three-point makes are one short of the NCAA record of 21 set by New Mexico State against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 23, 2002. The 20 threes are also an A-Sun record, as FGCU made 10 in each half, highlighted by a 10-for-21 clip in the final frame in which it out-scored the Bears 50-26.
The Blue and Green, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (11.9), have drained double digit three-pointers 10 times on the season and now have 167 triples as a team, including 98 in the last seven contests. Six different players made at least one trey for the Blue and Green, led by junior Eglah Griffin’s (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar HS/Seminole CC) career-best 7-of-12 night.
Ranked No. 3 in the CollegInsider.com Mid-Major poll and receiving votes in both national polls, FGCU remains one of two unbeatens (No. 3 Duke; 17-0) at 14-0 overall and 7-0 in the A-Sun. The Eagles also stretched their home unbeaten streak at Alico Arena to 32 games, the third longest in the nation behind UConn and Stanford.
FGCU forced the Bears into 19 turnovers and held the Bears to just 52 points on 22-of-57 (38.6 percent) shooting from the field. Mercer’s 52 points mark the tenth time the Eagles, who lead the conference in scoring defense (55.2 ppg), have held an opponent below 60 points this season.
Griffin finished with a career-high 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including draining a career-best seven triples - one short of the program record held by Jen Conely and Candy Myers. Griffin also added five rebounds and a steal in just 28 minutes. Junior Nicoya Jackson (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS/Southwestern Christian) hit a career-high four trifectas en route to finishing with 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals. Senior Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) registered 11 points and seven assists while redshirt-freshman Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS) snagged 11 boards and scored seven points. Junior Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/ Alter HS) had another strong all-around game with five points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Chihil’s nine assists give her five games in which she’s dished out five or more helpers this season and also helped the Eagles finish with a positive assist/turnover ratio (22-7) for the ninth time on the year. FGCU won the battle of the boards 45-43, highlighted by 26 offensive rebounds - a program Division I record and the third-best total in the nine-year program history.
Briana Williams scored 16 points to lead the Bears, while Alex Phillips picked up a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bears jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead capped by a jumper from Sharmesia Smith with 16:32 left in the first half. The Blue and Green got back-to-back triples from Griffin and Murphy to cut the Mercer lead to 9-8.
Trailing 12-9, the Eagles got a three-pointer from Jackson that tied the game at 12-12. The Blue and Green went on to outscore the Bears 25-12, including eight points from Murphy, over the final 11:27 of the first half to take a 37-26 lead into the locker room.
The Blue and Green have held six of their seven A-Sun opponents to 27 points or less in the first half so far this season. The Eagles have also out-scored their seven conference opponents 285-178 in the first 20 minutes in 2010-11.
A three-pointer from Griffin gave the Eagles a 40-26 lead with 19:17 left in regulation. The Bears answered the FGCU triple with a 12-2 run, capped by a Sharnea Boykin jumper, to cut the Blue and Green’s lead to just 42-38 with 15:20 left to go in the game.
The Eagles went on to outscore Mercer 23-4 over the next 8:32 to extend their lead to 65-42 just before the 8-minute media timeout. FGCU drained five three-pointers during the spurt.
Leading 74-50 with just over three minutes remaining in the game, junior Lerrin Cook (Kearny, Ariz./Ray HS/Yavapai College) drained a triple that broke the school record for made three’s (19) and at the same time set the NCAA record for attempts in a game - FGCU’s 53rd long-range shot of the game.
The Blue and Green will return to the court on Thursday, Jan. 20 when they travel to DeLand, Fla. to take on the Hatters of Stetson (8-9 overall, 4-4 A-Sun) at the Edmunds Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m.