FORT MYERS, Fla. –Junior Nicoya Jackson (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS/Southwestern Christian) scored a team-high 17 points off the bench as the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Drexel, 73-67, in front of 3,002 fans on Friday night at Alico Arena to advance to the second round of the WNIT and extend their home winning streak, which is the third longest in the nation behind UConn and Stanford, to 42 games.
With the win, the Eagles (28-3) move on to the second round of the WNIT and will host SEC foe Florida (19-14) at 7:05 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 21 at Alico Arena.
The 2010-11 A-Sun regular season champs, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (10.9), knocked down eight triples on the night. The Eagles are now 3-3 all-time in the WNIT, including 3-0 at home.
Jackson finished with a team-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from behind the three-point line. Senior Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) and junior Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./Moorhead HS) each finished with 15 points and three boards. Redshirt-freshman Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS) registered 10 points, six rebounds and two assists. Junior Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar HS/Seminole CC) chipped in with eight points and five boards, while junior Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS) recorded a game-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points and four assists.
Jasmina Rosseel led the Dragons with 18 points and four rebounds, while Hollie Mershon contributed 15 points and four boards.
Drexel jumped out to quick 13-5 run to open the game. The Eagles responded with a 16-5 run, highlighted by nine points from Jacobson on 3-of-3 shooting from behind the arc, to grab a 21-18 lead with 10:38 left in the opening half.
The Dragons responded in a big way, employing a 10-2 run to regain control of the game and go ahead 28-23 with 7:31 left in the opening 20 minutes.
Jackson’s three-pointer cut Drexel’s lead to 28-26 and the Blue and Green went on to outscore Drexel 7-1 to pull in front 30-29. The teams would trade buckets over the final two minutes as the Dragons took a 37-34 lead into the intermission
Drexel shot 16-of-30 (53.3 percent) from the field and 3-of-7 (42.9 percent) from behind the arc in the first half.
FGCU hit 11-of-24 (45.8 percent) from the floor in the first half, including 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from long distance.
The two teams battled back-and-forth over the opening four minutes of the half, with the Dragons taking a 43-38 lead with 15:27 left in regulation. The Blue and Green used a 17-6 run, highlighted by six points Griffin and five points from Murphy, to grab a 55-49 lead.
Leading 57-55, FGCU got a triple from Jacobson, a jumper from Jackson and a pair of free throws from Chihil to take a 64-55 advantage with just 3:08 left in regulation.
The Dragons turned up their defensive pressure by applying a press, but the Blue and Green’s lead was too much to overcome as FGCU picked up the 73-67 victory.
Round 2 Schedule
Saturday, March 19
Auburn at Toledo, 12 p.m. EST
St. Joseph’s at Boston College, 1:30 p.m. EST
Utah State at BYU, 5 p.m. EST
Duquesne at Kansas, 8 p.m. EST
Sunday, March 20
Charlotte at South Carolina, 2 p.m. EST
Illinois State at Wisconsin, 2 p.m. EST
Arkansas at Missouri State, 3 p.m. EST
Alabama at Northwestern, 3 p.m. EST
Virginia at Loyola, 4 p.m. EST
Southern Cal at Nevada, 5 p.m. EST
Monday, March 21
St. Bonaventure at Syracuse, 7 p.m. EST
Eastern Michigan at UNC Wilmington, 7 p.m. EST
Florida at FGCU, 7:05 p.m. EST
Tulane at Oral Roberts, 8 p.m. EST
California at Colorado, 9 p.m. EST
Oklahoma State at Wyoming, 9 p.m. EST