FGCU Shakes Off Slow Start to Pick Up 53-42 Win Over UNF
Monday, January 07, 2013 | by Mike Hill (@Mike_Hill84)
Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
UNF (6-9, 2-2 A-Sun)
Florida Gulf Coast (11-5, 4-0 A-Sun)
1/7/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 1660
Florida Gulf Coast203353
Stats at a GlanceUNFFGCU
FG Percentage.390 (16-41) .302 (16-53)
3P FG Percentage.200 (2-10) .188 (6-32)
FT Percentage.800 (8-10) .833 (15-18)
Offensive Rebounds310
Defensive Rebounds2821
Total Rebounds3131
Bench Points110
Statistical LeadersUNFFGCU
PointsLAMAR - 11
ReboundsLAMAR - 7
AssistsJOSIL - 3
StealsCONNER - 1
BlocksKERR - 1

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Three players scored in double figures as the FGCU women’s basketball team had an off night shooting the ball but used a solid defensive effort to defeat UNF, 53-42, in Atlantic Sun Conference action.

“We were slow to get into things tonight,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “Give North Florida a lot of credit. They were jamming a lot of things up on us. They were giving us a lot of three-point looks and it paid off this time because we shot the three so poorly.”

With the win, FGCU, winners of 22 straight A-Sun games, improves to 11-5 overall and 4-0 in the A-Sun, while UNF falls to 6-9 overall (2-2 A-Sun). The victory also improves the Green and Blue’s record against North Florida at Alico Arena (6-0) and in the all-time series with the Ospreys (9-2).

The Eagles, who average 8.0 three-point field goals per game this season, knocked down six shots from behind the arc, led three triples from freshman Jaime Gluesing (Solon, Ohio/Solon HS).

Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) turned in her fifth double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes. Senior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) registered 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Gluesing tied her career-high with 11 points, while senior Joyce Iamstrong (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional South HS/Jefferson College) posted nine points, three boards and a pair of steals.

Both teams struggled to open the game, as neither squad was able to score until a layup from Destinee Smith gave UNF a 2-0 lead nearly three minutes into the opening half. FGCU responded with a triple from Hansen and an Iamstrong bucket to grab a 5-2 advantage with 14:36 left on the clock.

The offensive woes continued as both teams went scoreless for the next 3:31 until Smith buried a jumper at the 11:05 mark that sparked a 5-0 Osprey run that gave UNF a 7-5 lead (10:04).

Chandler Merkerson’s jumper with 5:03 left in the period gave the Ospreys a 16-13 lead, but the Green and Blue used a 7-2 spurt, capped by a Hansen layup, over the final 4:36 of the half to take a 20-18 lead into the locker room at the intermission.

Hansen led the Green and Blue with seven points and eight boards in the first half, while Kennedy and Iamstrong added five points each. FGCU shot just 22.6 percent (7-for-31) from the floor and knocked down four shots from behind the three-point line. The Ospreys, who were forced into nine first half turnovers, shot 34.8 percent (8-for-23) from the field and connected on two of their eight attempts from long distance in the opening 20 minutes.

FGCU’s 20 first half points are the fewest the Eagles have scored in the first half of a game since scoring 15 points at Seton Hall (Nov. 11, 2011). The Green and Blue’s first half effort is also the fewest points they’ve scored in the opening period of an A-Sun contest since posting 18 points at UNF (Jan. 7, 2008) in the program’s first season in Division I. The 22.6 percent shooting percentage in the first stanza is the lowest the Eagles have had since shooting .212 (7-of-33) at UNF on Feb. 13, 2010.

The Eagles came out of the break on an 11-2 run and took a 31-20 lead early in the second half. UNF attempted to rally and chipped away at the FGCU lead, pulling to within four points (40-36) after a pair of free throws from Raneisha Lamar with 4:29 left. That would be as close as the Ospreys would get as the Eagles were able to pull away and pick up the 53-42 conference victory.

The Green and Blue are back in action on Saturday, January 12 when they head to Johnson City, Tenn. to take on the Lady Bucs of ETSU (3-7, 1-2 A-Sun). Tipoff is set for 1:30 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).