FGCU First Team to Advance to Semifinals in Macon

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

MACON, Ga. - The top-seeded FGCU Eagles dealt eighth-seeded ETSU Buccaneers a 79-63 defeat in the opening game of the 2012 General Shale Brick Women's Basketball Championship. Sarah Hansen finished with 22 points to lead the Eagles in scoring, while Maria Bond's 13 points were the most for the Lady Bucs.

Playing in their first A-Sun Championship, the Eagles came out cold by shooting only 1-of-9 from three-point range, but heated up late in the first half to make three of their final eight attempts from long range and finish the half 4-of-17 from three. FGCU took a slight 38-34 advantage into halftime. Senior Courtney Chihil and A-Sun All-Freshman, Whitney Knight, led all scorers with nine at the break.

The second half opened with a 28-8 run from the Eagles to stretch their lead to 24 at 66-42 at the 11:45 mark. The Blue and Green maintained the a wealthy lead for the remainder of the contest by hitting five of nine three-point attempts in the second stanza. Hansen, the A-Sun Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, added six rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

Read the Atlantic Sun Insider Column: FGCU Star Student-Athlete, Hansen, Shines in Quarterfinals

ETSU, the three-time A-Sun Champions, led by one (26-25) with 3:54 remaining in the first half, but were outscored, 54-37, for the remainder of the contest. Amber Rechis, Courtney Chihil and Whitney Knight all registered double-digit points for the Eagles, while ETSU's Destiny Mitchell capped her sophomore season with 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.

FGCU advances to face the winner of Thursday's contest between No. 4 North Florida vs. No. 5 Kennesaw State. The Eagles will tip at noon ET on Friday against the Ospreys/Owls winner.

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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.