@FGCU_WBB Defense Downs Jacksonville 62-43
Thursday, February 20, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Steph Haas led the Eagles with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting
Steph Haas led the Eagles with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting
FLORIDA GULF COAST (19-7; 13-1 A-Sun)
Jacksonville (10-14; 7-6 A-Sun)
2/20/2014 | Swisher Gymnasium - Jacksonville, Fla. | Attendance: 589
Stats at a GlanceFGCUJU
FG Percentage.407 (22-54) .300 (12-40)
3P FG Percentage.333 (7-21) .200 (2-10)
FT Percentage.786 (11-14) .708 (17-24)
Offensive Rebounds69
Defensive Rebounds2327
Total Rebounds2936
Bench Points219
Statistical LeadersFGCUJU
PointsHAAS - 17
ReboundsHANSEN - 10
AssistsDUNSON - 4
COBB - 4
StealsCOBB - 5
BlocksHANSEN - 4

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Backed by 24 points on 20 Jacksonville turnovers, the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated JU 62-43 Thursday night at Swisher Gymnasium.  With the win, the Eagles maintain possession of a first-place tie with Stetson with a record of 13-1 in Atlantic Sun action and an overall mark of 19-7.  The Dolphins fall to 10-14 with a 7-6 conference record.

“The defense was really good tonight,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “We got deflections and we forced 20 turnovers. This is a tough team to rebound against and they beat us on the boards but as aggressive as they were, I think we handled it well. Overall, it’s a great win for us.”

Senior captain Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) recorded her fourth double-double of the season to lead the Eagles with 14 points and 10 rebounds through 30 minutes.  Sophomore Stephanie Haas (Avon Lakes, Ohio/Magnificat High School) paced the team with 17 points off the bench, while Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School/Butler), DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) and Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce High School/VCU) each added seven for the Eagles.

Haas went 7-for-9 from the field with two made 3-pointers in just 18 minutes of action.

Defensively, Cobb led the Eagles with five steals, while sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) blocked four shots.  The Eagles forced 20 JU turnovers to produce 24 points with 14 steals.

As a unit, the Eagles shot 40.7 percent from the field, while holding the Dolphins to a success rate of 30 percent.  The Eagles made 7-of-21 shots from 3-point range and saw the home team go 2-for-10 from beyond-the-arc.  JU outrebounded FGCU 33-29.

The Eagles took hold of the game on tipoff and went ahead 2-0 with a layup from Hansen in the opening seconds of the game.  After trading baskets, Cobb produced five-quick points to put FGCU ahead 12-3 just four minutes into the contest.

The teams traded baskets for several minutes but 3-point shots from the Eagles increased their lead to 12 points at the 10-minute mark.  FGCU sank eight of its first 13 shot attempts to maintain control of the contest.  A steal from Knight followed by a Dunson layup and a Knight long-range shot quickly increased the lead to 16 points, the largest of the half with six minutes to play.

JU and FGCU traded possessions in the final minutes of the half to maintain the point differential at 15 points.  At the break, the Eagles led 34-19.

Jacksonville opened the second half with a four-point spurt to cut the deficit to 11 points but the Eagles never allowed the home team to bring the score back to single digits. 

Consecutive 3-pointers from Haas midway through the second half increased the Eagle advantage to 51-33.  Haas added a layup for eight-straight points before two free throws from Atwater brought the advantage to 22 points.  The Dolphins cut the momentum with a single free throw before Knight sank a shot from beyond-the-arc to give the Eagles a game-high 24 point lead.

The Dolphins added nine points in the final five minutes but ultimately handed FGCU its 13th Atlantic Sun victory, 62-43.

With the win, the Eagles remain tied with in-state rival Stetson for first-place in the Atlantic Sun.  The teams sit three games ahead of third-place Northern Kentucky and five games ahead of USC Upstate.

The Green and Blue will continue the Jacksonville-based road trip this weekend with a matchup at North Florida on Saturday afternoon.  Tipoff is slated for 4:30 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.