Michigan women's basketball beats Florida Gulf Coast, 87-66, in NCAA women's tournament

Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read

Leigha Brown scored 28 points, 19 in the third quarter alone, followed by a 21-7 run in the fourth quarter to push Michigan past Florida Gulf Coast, 87-66, in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament on Sunday in San Antonio.

The Wolverines (15-5), the No. 6 seed in the River Walk Region, will take on No. 3-seed Tennessee on Tuesday.

Brown, the transfer from Nebraska, was two points shy of her career high and two points shy of 1,000 in her career. She was 12-for-16 from the field and added five rebounds.

Naz Hillmon, the Big Ten Player of the Year, had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Akienreh Johnson added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Kierstan Bell, the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year and Ohio State transfer, scored 25 as the Eagles (26-3) had their 25-game win streak snapped.

The Wolverines and Eagles exchanged the lead early in the third quarter, but then Brown went on a 17-10 run herself to give U-M an 11-point advantage.

Michigan's eight-point lead entering the fourth quarter was quickly whittled down to 64-61 on a Andrea Cecil 3. But after an Akienreh Johnson layup, Brown scored five straight, followed by two Hillmon free throws and a Danielle Rauch 3 to expand the lead to 76-61.

Michigan led, 38-36, at the half. U-M shot 54% (31-for-57) from the field and help FGCU, a prolific 3-point shooting team, to 9 of 29 (31%) from behind the line.

Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan beats Florida Gulf Coast, 87-66, in NCAA women's tournament