FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2011) - Florida Gulf Coast knocked down 15 threes and scored 28 points off 23 Lady Buccaneer turnovers, and the Eagles extended their home winning streak to 34 straight with an 81-65 victory over ETSU in front of a record-setting 2,921 fans Monday night inside Alico Arena.
Freshman Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) - who didn't play in the first meeting when the Eagles defeated ETSU by seven - recorded her fourth straight double-double (11th of the season). Mitchell finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds; while Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) added 13 points, five assists and three rebounds in 39 minutes of work.
The loss snapped ETSU's six-game winning streak and the Lady Bucs dropped to 14-10, 11-4 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, the Eagles made a strong push to solidifying their bid for the A-Sun regular season title after improving to 19-1, 12-1.
Florida Gulf Coast came out by hitting on three of their first five three-point attempts, but the Lady Bucs countered with solid post play after registering eight of their first 11 points in the paint and only trailed by two (13-11) as both teams went into the first media timeout at the 14:44 mark. The Lady Bucs came out of the timeout and mounted an 11-2 run over the next four minutes, forty-three seconds to grab a 22-15 lead after Mitchell drove in for a lay-in with 10:01 showing on the clock. Unfortunately, the Eagles quickly tied things at 22 after scoring the next seven points, but Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) snapped the run with a lay-up and a foul with less than eight minutes left before the break.
However, things became tight from there as there were four ties and five lead changes over the next three-plus minutes, but with the game tied at 31, the Lady Bucs only scored two points in the final four minutes and the Eagles went into the locker room up six, 39-33.
Despite shooting 50 percent (15-30) from the field, the Lady Bucs still trailed at the break due to ten costly turnovers. FGCU only shot 42 percent (13-31) in the opening 20 minutes, but the Eagles scored 15 points off the Lady Buccaneer miscues. The Lady Bucs outscored FGCU by ten in the paint, 20 to 10, and out-rebounded the Eagles 20 to 15. However, FGCU finished 8-of-17 from beyond the arc, compared to the Blue and Gold going 2-of-6 from long range.
Things got ugly in a hurry for the Lady Bucs in the second half as the Eagles hit five threes in the first three minutes, thirty-three seconds to extend their lead to 14, 53-39, forcing the Lady Bucs to burn a 30-second timeout.
The three-point barrage rattled the Blue and Gold as the Eagles pushed their lead to 17, but six unanswered points by the Lady Bucs made it 62-51, forcing FGCU to call a timeout after Mitchell made a lay-up with 8:37 remaining in the contest.
However, that's as close as ETSU would get as FGCU posted a 15-5 run over the next four-plus minutes to see the Eagles' lead soar to 21, 77-56, after Shannon Murphy sank a jumper with 4:10 remaining. The Lady Bucs never had an answer for the surge and the students stormed the floor following the 16-point victory.
For the game, the Lady Bucs shot 52 percent (27-52) but only went 2-of-12 from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Eagles shot 46 percent (29-63) and made 15 of their 36 three-point attempts. ETSU won the rebounding battle, 38-31, but shot an uncharacteristic 47 percent (9-19) at the free throw line.
The Eagles starting five dismantled the Lady Bucs as they totaled all but five of their 81 points. Murphy led the way with a game-high 21 points and Courtney Chihil just missed a triple-double by one assist. Chihil ended with 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
The Lady Bucs return home to play their final two games inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center of the season, beginning Saturday afternoon when ETSU hosts North Florida. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.