FORT MYERS, FL – Junior guard Ebonie Halliburton scored a career-high 23 points to lead Florida Gulf Coast University to a 62-57 Senior Night win over Florida Southern College Saturday night in a key Division II South Region women’s basketball game at Alico Arena.
The win kept the Eagles hopes of an at-large bid in the upcoming NCAA Division II tournament alive as FGCU improved to 9-7 in the South Region and 19-8 overall. Florida Southern finishes the regular season with a 17-10 mark and the No. 1 seed in the Sunshine State Conference tournament next week.
Eight teams will be selected to the South Region tournament, including the conference champions from the Gulf South, Southern Intercollegiate and Sunshine State conferences.
Halliburton (East St. Louis, IL) knocked down four three-pointers in the opening half as the Eagles held the Lady Mocs without a field goal for the final 9:11 of the half to take a 33-19 lead at the break.
Florida Southern star Lucresia West, a Seventh Day Adventist whose religious beliefs forced her to sit until sundown, scored seven unanswered points to start the final frame and key a 21-11 run to close the gap to 44-40 with just over 13 minutes to play.
FGCU responded with a 16-4 run, keyed by five points from Halliburton and five points from senior forward Andrea Clarke (Guelph, Ontario), for a commanding 60-46 lead. The Lady Mocs put together a late 11-0 run to pull within five with a minute remaining but could get no closer.
Halliburton finished with a career-high six three pointers, connecting on 6-of-7 from the arc and 8-of-14 from the floor. Clarke added 13 points and nine rebounds, just missing her third straight double-double. She is now six points shy of the career scoring mark of 675, held by Robyn Swain (’04). Junior forward Alex Kwiecinska (Mississauga, Ontario) chipped in with 11 points.
West and Monique Bunch each had 14 points to lead Florida Southern.
FGCU will close out the regular season with four games in the next four days in Puerto Rico.