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Malta's Sophia Stiles, No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast University top No. 5 Washington State, advance in tournament

NCAA FGCU Washington St Basketball
Posted at 2:43 PM, Mar 18, 2023

March on Sophia Stiles.

The Malta native and No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast University topped No. 5 Washington State 74-63 on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the women's NCAA Tournament. With the win, the Eagles advance to the second round for the second straight year.

For Stiles, it was the first time in her career that she played in March Madness and the women's national NCAA Tournament. After suffering a broken cheekbone in the semifinal game of the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament against Austin Peay, she missed the tournament championship game against Liberty that FGCU won, but returned on Saturday with a mask on and started for the Eagles against the Cougars.

Stiles played 17 minutes and scored four points on 1 for 2 shooting while going 2 for 4 from the free throw line. Stiles also had four steals and two assists.

FGCU (33-3) shot 55.6% from the field as a team and held Washington State to 38.9% shooting in the game. Sha Carter led FGCU with 24 points.

Stiles run with FGCU continues after transferring there after spending five seasons with the Montana Lady Griz.

Stiles and FGCU will play the winner of No. 4 Villanova and No. 13 Cleveland State on Monday.