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No. 29 Eagles Defeat Belmont, 54-34, to Extend Winning Streak
|Florida Gulf Coast||22||32||54|
|Stats at a Glance||BEL||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.310 (13-42)||.400 (22-55)|
|3P FG Percentage||.000 (0-9)||.105 (2-19)|
|FT Percentage||.444 (8-18)||.667 (8-12)|
BURTNETT - 4
TEAM - 4
BROOKS - 2
BURTNETT - 1
BROOKS - 1
VISBEEN - 1
ERNST - 1
KNIGHT - 1
RECHIS - 1
CHATZIGIAKOUMI - 1
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fueled by holding its fourth opponent of the season to under 40 points, the No. 29 FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Atlantic Sun foe Belmont, 54-34, on Saturday night in front of 3,352 fans at Alico Arena. The win guarantees the Eagles at least a share of the A-Sun Regular Season title, which is the third in program history.
With its 15th straight victory, FGCU improves to 23-2 overall (15-0 A-Sun), while the Bruins fall to 9-16 (8-6 A-Sun) on the season. The Eagles are now 8-1 all-time against Belmont and lead the A-Sun race by three games with three left to play.
Sophomore Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) scored a game-high 14 points and added six rebounds in 24 minutes of action, while shooting 5-of-10 from the field and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe.
The Eagles, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (10.9), knocked down just 2-of-19 shots from behind the arc and now have 273 triples as a team. The Green and Blue’s two made triples are the fewest the team has made since Feb. 2, 2008 at Belmont (1-of-8).
Ranked No. 3 in the CollegInsider.com Mid-Major poll and receiving votes in both national polls, FGCU forced the Bruins into 12 miscues, which led to 14 FGCU points off turnovers. Belmont’s 34 points mark the 16th time the Eagles, who lead the conference in scoring defense (51.8 ppg), have held an opponent to 55 points or fewer this season.
Redshirt-junior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in a team-high 29 minutes. Senior Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS) registered nine points and five rebounds to add to the Green and Blue’s 39-32 edge on the glass.
After scoring a season-low 22 points in the first half on just 8-of-28 shooting from the field, FGCU opened the second half with a 17-3 run, capped by a pair of Hansen free-throws to take a 39-16 lead with 11:40 left in regulation. The Eagles continued to play stingy defense and extended their lead to as many as 26 points before picking up the 54-34 conference win.
For the game, the Bruins shot 13-of-42 (31 percent) from the field and 0-of-9 from behind the arc, while the Eagles hit 22-of-55 (40 percent) from the floor on the night.
The Green and Blue will return home to host second place Stetson (21-6, 12-3 A-Sun) on Saturday, Feb. 18. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. and is FGCU’s ‘Senior Day’. FGCU defeated Stetson 59-55 on Jan. 21 in DeLand in the first meeting.
The Eagles, who have assured themselves of at least a top-2 seed in the 2012 A-Sun Tournament, will play their quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Feb. 29. Tip-off times are still to be determined. FGCU Athletics is now offering ticket packages for the conference tournament at Mercer in Macon, Ga. Fans can get ticket booklets that include admission into every game of the men’s and women’s tournament (14 games) for $75. All tickets are general admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling the FGCU ticket office Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 239-590-7145, in person at the Alico Arena ticket office or by ordering online at www.fgcuathletics.com/tickets. Tickets through the FGCU ticket office must be purchased by 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27.