FLORIDA GULF COAST
12/17/2013 | Maravich Center (Baton Rouge, La.) | Attendance: 2190
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||16||30||46|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||LSU|
|3P FG Percentage||.333
BATON ROUGE, La. – Despite strong second-half shooting and an increase in intensity, the FGCU women’s basketball team dropped a 69-46 loss to no. 12 LSU Tuesday night at the Maravich Center. With the loss, the Eagles fall to 5-4 on the season, while the Tigers improve to 9-1 overall.
The Eagles struggled to convert shots in the first half and entered the break with a 19-point deficit. The team built a strong attack to open the second half but was ultimately unable to cut the LSU advantage.
“In the first half our offensive execution was just poor,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “We didn’t play at a very good pace and LSU’s defense is too good. They have too much size and too much quickness to catch the ball and hold it and not do anything to break it down. By the time we changed our pace offensively, we had dug ourselves a hole. You can’t dig yourself a hole against a team that is top-15 in the country and expect to win. You don’t get these opportunities every day. We need to learn from this experience and hopefully we will.”
Senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) led all players with 15 points in the contest. Hansen also added four rebounds and three steals. Sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) added eight points in the Eagles’ offensive effort, while all others were held to six points or fewer.
Although the Green and Blue increased their shooting percentage to 50 in the second half, the Eagles shot just 34 percent on the night, while allowing the Tigers to make 41.1 percent of shots. The Eagles did, however, outshoot the home team from 3-point range with a 33.3 percent success rate, while holding LSU to 20 percent from distance.
LSU held the advantage on the boards, 44-25 and recorded 15 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds.
The game opened with an exchange of possessions and neither team scoring for the first three minutes of action. The Tigers went ahead 2-0 on a layup and extended their lead to 8-0 on a series of baskets over a period of three minutes.
With 13:31 to play, two quick 3-point shots from Hansen and Katie Meador (Salem, Ill/Salem Community High School) put FGCU on the scoreboard and brought the Eagles within two points. Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) followed with her signature scoop layup to tie the game at eight midway through the half.
The Tigers reclaimed the lead on five-straight points by the team’s leading scorer, Raignye Moncrief and went ahead 15-8 with eight minutes remaining. The Eagles traded baskets from long range with the home team to bring the score to 20-16 with six minutes to play but saw as LSU mounted a 15-point streak in the final minutes of the half.
The Eagles were held scoreless for six minutes to end the half and went into the break trailing 35-16.
In the opening minute of the second half, Knight sank a 3-pointer from the far left corner to swing the momentum in FGCU’s favor. Knight followed with another shot from long range 50 seconds later before Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School) made a third-consecutive triple for the Eagles to bring the score to 37-22.
While the offense cut the LSU advantage, the Eagles’ defense forced two Tiger turnovers and pressured the home team to miss their first field goal attempts. Hansen added to the attack with another 3-point basket and a layup with 12 minutes to play and cut the score to 43-32.
The Tigers responded to the pressure and produced a 12-point run to reclaim control of the game and take a 20-point lead midway through the second half.
The Eagles continued to fight and sank four 3-point shots in the final eight minutes of play but could not cut the deficit. The Tigers outscored FGCU, 14-12, in those final eight minutes to maintain the lead and ultimately take the victory, 69-46.
The Tigers’ control of the game was largely due to their success at the free-throw line and a high number of FGCU turnovers. LSU capitalized on 21-of-25 shots from the charity stripe, while FGCU made none of their four attempts. LSU also scored 20 points on 15 FGCU turnovers in the second half and in turn outscored the Green and Blue 34-30 in the final half of play.
The Eagles will return to Fort Myers this weekend as they host the 2013 Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Classic on Friday, Dec. 20 and Saturday, Dec. 21. The Green and Blue will face Saint Francis University on Friday evening before taking on The University of Virginia on Saturday.
For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the women’s basketball program, follow @FGCU_WBB on Twitter and Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook at /FGCUWBB.
2013-14 women’s basketball season tickets are selling quickly. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.