Balanced Attacked Leads Saint Joseph's Past FGCU, 76-64

FT. MYERS, Fla. - Backed by four Hawks in double figures, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team downed Florida Gulf Coast University, 76-64, Sunday evening at Alico Arena. Senior Erin Shields had 17 points and sophomore Sarah Fairbanks posted 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds to help SJU improve to 10-2 overall.


In a back-and-forth opening 13 minutes, Florida Gulf Coast held a 24-23 edge, but the Hawks would soon take control of the final seven minutes. Using a 14-6 run to end the half, Saint Joseph's opened a 37-30 edge on a layup in the pain by Ilze Gotfrida off a feed from Shields with seven seconds to go.


In the second half, the Hawks started quickly, opening a 44-34 lead on layup by Natasha Cloud at 17:34. Saint Joseph's continued to hold the Eagles (6-6) at a distance from there, allowing FGCU to come within eight three times, before pushing its lead to as many as 16, 71-55 on a pair of free throws by Shields.


The Hawks, who shot 47.5 percent from the field (28-of-59) amd hit 16-of-17 from the foul line, took advantage of 16 FGCU turnovers, turning those into 24 points.


Joining Shields and Fairbanks in double figures were Cloud qith 14 points and a game-high nine assists, while senior Kelsey Berger added 10 points and five rebounds.


At the other end, the Eagles got a game-high 28 points from Sarah Hansen on 10-of-14 shooting and 6-of-9 from the foul line, but the rest of FGCU combined to go just 12-of-33 from the field.

Saint Joseph's returns to action January 2 at Richmond as it opens Atlantic 10 play at 7 p.m. at the Robins Center.