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No. 25 FGCU tops Golden Eagle women in first game at San Juan Shootout

No. 25 FGCU tops Golden Eagle women in first game at San Juan Shootout
By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
 
SAN JUAN, P.R. – The resume was already a strong one for Florida Gulf Coast coming into Friday's first game in the San Juan Shootout. The opposing Eagles were ranked No. 1 in the CollegeInsider.com Women's Mid-Major Poll and also earned a spot in the Associated Press Top 25.
 
The Tennessee Tech women saw first-hand on Friday why FGCU is earning respect from the nation's poll voters, dropping a hard-fought 81-69 contest at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
 
The Golden Eagles (2-3) conclude their play in the San Juan Shootout on Saturday as they take on New Mexico State at 1:30 p.m. Dylan Vazzano will provide the call on 106.1 The Eagle, while the game will be streamed on FloHoops (subscription required).
 
Kierstan Bell, an Ohio State transfer, also showed just why she's the nation's top scorer. Entering the game with a Division I best 26.9-point average, Bell was 17-for-31 from the field, despite going 4-for-11 at the charity stripe to end the game with 39 of the team's total of 81.
 
Tishara Morehouse was 6-for-8 from the field for 14 points to stand as FGCU's other double-digit scorer.
 
Shooting the three had been one of FGCU's strengths coming into the game, but Tech was able to throw that aspect of its game off, holding the opposing Eagles to 2-of-10 shooting from long-range. Bell and Tyra Cox were the only two FGCU players to knock down a beyond-the-arc shot.
 
The Golden Eagles ended the game with four double-digit players, led by Mackenzie Coleman's 10th career double-double, collecting 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Coleman was 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. 
 
Megan Clark led Tech with a career-high 17 points as she was 6-for-10 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from 3-point range and 3-for-4 at the line. Jada Guinn narrowly missed her career-best as well as she had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. 
 
Foul trouble made things difficult for the Golden Eagles as three players – Clark, Guinn and Anna Jones each stood on the brink with four each and Brady and Ansley Hall with three. Tech was whistled for 23 fouls, with FGCU going 11-for-23 at the line.
 
Tech was more efficient with its visits to the charity stripe, hitting 17 of 21, including a 6-for-9 effort for Kesha Brady to go along with her 4-for-8 effort from the field for 15 points in the game.
 
After a 10-10 tie in the first quarter, FGCU went on a 11-2 run to close out the opening stanza to take a 21-12 advantage. The Eagles extended the advantage to 12 at 29-17, then the Golden Eagles soared to a 10-0 run to close the gap, making it a 29-27 contest with 2:29 left before the intermission. FGCU closed out the half outscoring Tech 7-4 to send the teams to the locker rooms with the opponents up 36-31.
 
FGCU outscored Tech 22-16 in the third, extending its lead back out to 11 in the process to take a 58-47 lead at the end of three. The Golden Eagles were able to cut it back down to a five-point deficit with 5:51 remaining in the contest at 64-59, but FGCU surged back out to its largest margin of 14 points, outscoring Tech 15-6 to get there. Tech sandwiched a pair of free throws from Coleman and a Guinn jumper around a Morehouse layup to secure the final 12-point margin.
 
Tech ended the game with a solid shooting effort, finishing the contest with a 24-for-49 night, including a 63.6-percent rate in the fourth quarter. FGCU finished 34-for-62 from the field, hitting 69.2 percent in the third and 66.7 in the fourth.
 
File photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
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