@FGCU_WBB Downed by Virginia in 3-Point Shoot Out
Saturday, December 21, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Kaneisha Atwater led the Eagles with 13 points in the loss
Kaneisha Atwater led the Eagles with 13 points in the loss
Virginia (5-6)
12/21/2013 | Alico Arena - Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 1832
Stats at a GlanceVAFGCU
FG Percentage.509 (29-57) .360 (18-50)
3P FG Percentage.647 (11-17) .333 (11-33)
FT Percentage.842 (16-19) .563 (9-16)
Offensive Rebounds1210
Defensive Rebounds2917
Total Rebounds4127
Bench Points3412
Statistical LeadersVAFGCU
PointsAtaira Franklin - 14
Kelsey Wolfe - 14
ReboundsLexie Gerson - 7
AssistsTiffany Suarez - 3
Ataira Franklin - 3
Kelsey Wolfe - 3
StealsRaeshaun Gaffney - 3
BlocksAtaira Franklin - 1

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s basketball team witnessed as The University of Virginia successfully converted 11-of-17 3-point shots at Alico Arena Saturday night.  The Eagles could not stifle the Cavalier offense and ultimately fell, 85-56 in the final contest of the 2013 Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Classic.  With the loss, the Green and Blue drops to 6-5 on the season, while UVA improves to 5-6.  

FGCU produced an 11-point lead to open the contest but saw as Virginia cut the Eagles’ advantage and took control of the game midway through the first half with stellar long-range shooting.  The Cavaliers never relinquished the lead. 

“Virginia was just really, really impressive tonight,” said head coach Karl Smesko.  “The shooting display that they put on tonight was exceptional.  You’re never going to win a game when you give up that type of percentage from the 3-point line.  I thought Virginia played an excellent game.”

Overall, the Eagles shot 36 percent from the floor, while allowing the Cavaliers to convert 50.9 percent of shots and 64.7 percent of attempts from beyond-the-arc.  The Eagles matched UVA’s 3-point baskets, each with 11, but shot just 33 percent from distance.

The Cavaliers outrebounded FGCU, 41-27, and produced 24 points on 19 Eagle turnovers. 

Individually, sophomore Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Westwood High School/VCU) led the Eagles with 13 points.  Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) and Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) also contributed double-figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. 

Senior captain Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) paced the FGCU rebounding effort with five on the night.  Hansen also produced a career-high seven assists. 

The Eagles opened the contest with consecutive 3-point shots from Haas and Knight to take a 6-0 lead in the first minute of play.  The ‘Hoos responded with a jumper to get on the scoreboard but the Eagles continued to shoot well and produced a 12-2 lead before the 17-minute mark.

The teams traded 3-point buckets before a traditional three-point play from Atwater put the Eagles ahead 18-7 with 15 minutes remaining in the half.  UVA chipped away at the lead with an 18-6 run that included four made 3-point baskets to take a 25-24 lead with nine minutes to play in the half.

The visiting team went on to sink five more free throws and outscored FGCU 21-13 to end the half.  At the break, the Cavaliers led 46-37.

Virginia carried the momentum into the second half and began the final stanza with a 12-point run, while holding the Eagles scoreless for the first six minutes of action.

Two free throws by Atwater with 13:38 on the clock cut the FGCU drought.  A 3-point shot from Knight followed to bring the score to 58-42 with 12 minutes to play but the Cavaliers responded with another eight-point run to increase the advantage to 66-42. 

Amanda Moore (Seymour, Ind./Seymour High School) cut the streak with a 3-pointer from the corner midway through the half.  The Eagles were able to stop another Cavalier run but could not create a streak of their own. 

The teams traded baskets through the final minutes before another Moore 3-pointer cut the UVA lead to 79-56 but the Cavaliers produced a layup and four made free throws to end the game with a 29-point advantage.

The loss was the Eagles’ largest deficit since losing 93-53 to Florida State to open the 2007-08 season.

The Eagles will break for the Christmas holiday before returning to Alico Arena on Sunday, Dec. 29.  FGCU will host Saint Joseph’s in a 6 p.m. matchup to conclude nonconference action.

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.