(5-9 (1-2 ASun))
FLORIDA GULF COAST
(8-6 (2-0 ASun))
1/9/2014 | Alico Arena - Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 1877
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||34||39||73|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.167
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Led by double-digit scoring performances from four separate players, the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated ETSU 73-58 Thursday night at Alico Arena. With the win, the Eagles improve to 2-0 in Atlantic Sun action and 8-6 on the season, while the Bucs fall to 5-9 on the year and 1-2 in conference play. The win extends the Eagles’ conference win streak to 38 games and improves the team’s overall conference record at home to 57-1 all time.
The Bucs and Eagles battled for the lead early in the game before sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) single-handedly put together a nine-point run to give the Eagles the lead midway through the first half. The Eagles extended their lead to 10 points late in the half but allowed the Bucs to challenge them before the break. Six quick points to open the second half gave the Green and Blue a momentum it would never give up. The Eagles extended their lead to a game-high 25 points and ultimately earned a 73-58 victory.
Knight led all players with 21 points on the night, while Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) added 17. The pair had each had seven made field goals with three made shots from long range. Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) and Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Westwood High School/VCU) chipped in 16 and 14, respectively. Haas and Hansen each added six rebounds to lead the team.
DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) dished out a career-high six assists to pace the Eagles, while Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School/Butler) had a team-high three steals.
“I thought we played pretty well at the beginning of the game but I thought we did a much better job of offensive execution in the second half,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “We came out in the beginning of the half and took control. We never gave them a chance to get back in it like we did in the first half. We were more aggressive against the zone and Whitney and Steph did a great job knocking down threes to help us.”
Collectively, the Eagles shot 48 percent from the field, while holding ETSU to 41 percent with a percentage of 16.7 three-point range. The Eagles converted 36.4 percent of shots from distance and made eight 3-pointers on the night. ETSU narrowly outrebounded FGCU, 33-31 and both teams recorded 20 turnovers in the Eagles’ second conference game of the season. The teams each produced an even 23 points off miscues.
It was a slow start for both teams as FGCU took a 3-0 lead in the first two minutes of play. The Bucs responded in the third minute with two-consecutive baskets to take a 4-3 lead. The teams traded baskets and the lead six times in the next six minutes of action before Knight’s nine-point streak gave the Eagles a 16-13 lead. Haas added a 3-pointer to put the Green and Blue up 19-13 midway through the half.
The Bucs cut the FGCU lead to just two points before the Eagles constructed another run with two points each from Haas, Knight and Atwater. Another 3-pointer from Atwater gave the Eagles their largest lead of the half at 33-22 with four minutes to play.
ETSU held the Eagle offensive scoreless in the final two minutes of play and added five points with a 3-pointer and last-second layup to cut the deficit to just five points at the break.
The Eagles entered the second half with a 34-29 lead and quickly extended the advantage with a layup from Cobb and two-quick buckets from Atwater. With a 40-29 lead, FGCU outscored ETSU 17-6 over the next five minutes to take a 22 point lead. The run included six ETSU turnovers and 12-straight points for FGCU.
ETSU cut the Eagle run with a layup with 11 minutes to play and traded baskets with the home team for the next several minutes before Atwater and Knight combined for five-quick points to give FGCU its largest lead of the game at 67-42.
The Bucs cut the deficit to 20 points on a five-point run of their own but were never able to claim control of the contest. While trailing 73-52, the visiting team scored six unanswered points to conclude the game and brought the final score to 73-58 in favor of the home team.
The Eagles will continue Atlantic Sun action with a quick turnaround as they welcome USC Upstate to Alico Arena on Saturday, Jan. 11. The Spartans are 6-8 on the season with a 1-2 conference mark after falling to Stetson on Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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.