Big 3 Help Eagles 'Protect The Nest' with a 76-70 Upset of SEC Foe LSU
Friday, December 28, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
LSU (8-4)
Florida Gulf Coast (7-5)
12/28/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 2239
Florida Gulf Coast354176
Stats at a GlanceLSUFGCU
FG Percentage.462 (24-52) .404 (23-57)
3P FG Percentage.250 (3-12) .233 (7-30)
FT Percentage.826 (19-23) .958 (23-24)
Offensive Rebounds1113
Defensive Rebounds2219
Total Rebounds3332
Bench Points374
Statistical LeadersLSUFGCU
PointsPLAISANCE - 19
ReboundsKENNEY - 7
AssistsKENNEY - 7
StealsKENNEY - 2

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Three Eagles reached career-highs in points as the FGCU women’s basketball team picked up a huge, 76-70, non-conference win over LSU Friday night at Alico Arena.

“This is a great win for our program,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “We haven’t had the greatest start to this season, but we have five wins against teams in the RPI top 125 and I don’t think any team in our conference, men or women, have more than one. So some of our demise has been a little bit exaggerated.”

With the win, FGCU improves to 7-5 overall and snapped the Tigers’ four-game winning streak, while LSU falls to 8-4 on the season. The win also gives the Green and Blue their second win (seventh all-time) over a BCS opponent this season.

The Eagles, who are 16th in the nation in three-point field goals per game (7.8) this season, knocked down seven shots from behind the arc, led by four treys from senior Joyce Iamstrong (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional South HS/Jefferson College).

Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) finished with a career-high and game-high 30 points, her 11th double figure scoring performance of the season, on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, 2-of-4 from long distance and a perfect 14-of-14 from the charity stripe. Hansen registered the second 30-point performance in FGCU’s Division I history and the first since Feb. 12, 2009 (Adrianne McNally). The McKean, Pa. native also tallied nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Iamstrong tied her career-high with 20 points and added five steals, four rebounds and three assists. Senior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) finished with nine rebounds, six assists and two steals to go with her career-high 19 points.

After the Tigers took a one-point lead (36-35) into the locker room at the half, FGCU opened the second period with a 10-5 run, highlighted by five points from Hansen, to take a 45-41 lead with 16:19 left in regulation.

Following a Kennedy layup that gave the Green and Blue a 47-46 advantage (13:48), the two teams would battle back-and-forth tying the game five times, with the last tie coming at the 8:41 mark (54-54).

LSU’s Theresa Plaisance (19 pts, 6 rebs) fouled out of the game with 8:27 left after picking up her fourth personal foul and being hit with a technical. FGCU capitalized on the departure of LSU’s post presence with a 5-2 spurt, capped by a bucket from Kennedy, to go ahead 59-56 (7:38). The Lady Tigers retaliated with a 6-0 run to take a 62-59 advantage with 5:12 left in the contest.

FGCU would not fold and went on to outscore LSU 11-2 over the next 3:51 to take a commanding 70-64 lead with just over one minute remaining (1:21).

The Lady Tigers ratcheted up their defensive pressure and cut the Eagle lead down to two points (72-70) with 26 seconds on the clock, but Hansen and Iamstrong combined to go 4-of-4 from the charity stripe in the final 20 seconds as the Green and Blue went on to upset LSU, 76-70.

LSU shot 46.2 percent (24-for-52) from the floor and were held to just 3-of-12 shooting from behind the arc on the evening.

FGCU shot 40.4 percent (23-for-57) from the floor and hit seven of their 30 attempts from behind the three-point line. The Eagles also registered 15 steals, forced 16 turnovers and tallied 18 assists on 23 made baskets.

The Eagles will now head to the ‘Peach State’ to open A-Sun conference play. FGCU will face Kennesaw State on Dec. 31 (2:30 p.m.), before heading to Macon, Ga. to take on the Mercer Bears on Jan. 2 (5 p.m.).

Fans can follow FGCU on Twitter (@FGCU_WBB), Instagram (@FGCUWbb) and on Facebook by liking FGCU Women’s Basketball (www.Facebook.com/FGCUWbb).