No. 12 FGCU Drops Overtime Heartbreaker to No. 5 St. Bonaventure in NCAA Tournament
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Photo by Don Juan Moore
Photo by Don Juan Moore
Florida Gulf Coast (29-3 (12-seed))
St. Bonaventure (30-3 (5-seed))
3/18/2012 | The Tucker Center - Tallahassee, Florida | Attendance: 1227
1st2nd1OT Final
Florida Gulf Coast2434765
St. Bonaventure30281472
Stats at a GlanceFGCUSBU
FG Percentage.357 (20-56) .436 (24-55)
3P FG Percentage.269 (7-26) .250 (3-12)
FT Percentage.750 (18-24) .724 (21-29)
Offensive Rebounds96
Defensive Rebounds2930
Total Rebounds3836
Bench Points2021
Statistical LeadersFGCUSBU
PointsHANSEN - 15
ReboundsHANSEN - 11
AssistsKENNEDY - 3
StealsHANSEN - 2
BlocksHANSEN - 1

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure erased a 10-point deficit late in the second half to force overtime before defeating No. 12 seed FGCU in heartbreaking fashion, 72-65, in the first round of the Raleigh Region of the NCAA Tournament at The Tucker Center.

FGCU’s (29-3) magical season ends with a program Division I record 29 wins. The Eagles earned the NCAA Tournament berth in their first-year of Division I postseason eligibility by claiming an A-Sun regular and postseason title, while securing just the third perfect conference record (18-0) in league history.

The Bonnies (30-3) move on to face No. 13 seed Marist on Tuesday for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16. Marist defeated No. 4 seed Georgia in the first game of the day.

The top team in the nation in threes per game (10.8), FGCU broke the Division I single-season record for trifectas in a season when senior Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar HS/Seminole CC) buried the team’s 341st triple of the year in the second half. The Eagles finished with seven for the game and 342 for the season.

Trailing 32-24 in the opening minutes of the second half, FGCU was able to mount a huge comeback on the strength of seven straight stops on the defensive end that helped fuel a 13-0 run. Atlantic Sun all-time three-point leader Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./Moorhead HS) jump started the run that ended with the Eagles holding a 37-32 lead at the 14:38 mark with her 330th career triple.

St. Bonaventure was able to register its first field goal in nearly six minutes to make it 39-36 (11:47), but FGCU responded right back with 14 of the game’s next 20 points to take the first double-digit lead of the contest, at 53-42. From the 18:07 mark until the clock read 6:29, FGCU outscored the Bonnies 29-10, limiting the Brown and White to 4-of-14 from the field while forcing five turnovers over that span.

With FGCU leading 54-44 with 5:52 to go, St. Bonaventure overcame its tough 12-minute stretch by responding with a 12-0 run of its own over the next four minutes to vault into the lead, at 56-54.

Following Cece Dixon’s layup gave the Bonnies their first lead since the score was 32-29 (17:27; first half), senior Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS) was able to get into the paint and draw a foul to earn two trips to the line. Playing in her 120th career game, Chihil calmly stepped to the charity stripe and sank both shots to tie the game at 56-56.

St. Bonaventure was able to take the lead right back on the very next possession when Horton got into the lane to make it 58-56.

FGCU missed its chance to tie the game on its possession, but following a defensive stop made good on its next opportunity. Again, it was Chihil, as the Tipp City, Ohio product drove down the right wing out of the half-court set and made a layup in traffic with 3.2 seconds remaining to tie the score at 58-58.

The ensuing in-bound pass found the hands of SBU’s Dixon, who dribbled off her foot out-of-bounds with the Eagles forcing her down the right sideline, giving the ball back to the Green and Blue with 1.1 on the clock. The Eagles went to Griffin at the top of the three-point arc, but the Fort Myers product couldn’t work free of the Bona defense, as her buzzer beater fell short.

In the overtime, SBU went right to A-10 All-Conference first team choice Megan Van Tatenhove, who was limited to just 23 foul-plagued minutes in regulation. Van Tatenhove scored seven of St. Bonaventure’s 14 points in the extra frame, as the Bonnies pulled away over the final 3:08 of OT on a 10-3 run en route to the win.

The teams posted near identical numbers across the stat sheet, with FGCU’s 36 percent (20-56) shooting clip compared to St. Bonaventure’s 44 percent (24-55) afternoon providing the biggest difference.

Three players finished in double figures for the Green and Blue, led by redshirt sophomore Sarah Hansen’s (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) fifth double-double of the season. Hansen, the A-Sun Tournament MVP, posted 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in 38 minutes of work. Griffin, who made the historic three, finished 3-of-7 from beyond the arc for 11 points and six rebounds. Senior Nicoya Jackson (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS/Southwestern Christian) contributed 12 points off the bench.

Junior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) had nine points, six rebounds and three assists in her 34 minutes of action, while freshman Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds HS) had eight points and four rebounds off the bench.

St. Bonaventure was led by Van Tatenhove’s 18 points, 14 of which came in the second half and overtime. Horton finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, while FGCU turned in a great defensive effort on A-10 all-time three-point leader Jessica Jenkins, who finished with five points on 2-of-9 from the field.