FGCU Defeats Hampton to Win ‘The Battle of the Mid-Majors’ at the Paradise Jam
Saturday, November 24, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Hampton (4-3)
Florida Gulf Coast (3-3)
11/24/2012 | St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands | Attendance: 0
Florida Gulf Coast353570
Stats at a GlanceHAMWFGCU
FG Percentage.368 (21-57) .466 (27-58)
3P FG Percentage.333 (6-18) .333 (6-18)
FT Percentage.647 (11-17) .588 (10-17)
Offensive Rebounds1113
Defensive Rebounds2225
Total Rebounds3338
Bench Points2716
Statistical LeadersHAMWFGCU
PointsHAMILTON - 17
ReboundsAVANT - 6
AssistsHAMPTON - 4
StealsHAMILTON - 2
BlocksHAMILTON - 1
WARD - 1
COLE - 1

ST. THOMAS, USVI – Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS) dominated the game and filled the stat sheet with 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists as the FGCU women's basketball team defeated Hampton, 70-59, in a matchup between the No. 7 and No. 8 ranked teams in the latest Mid-Major Top 25 poll Saturday afternoon in the final game of the Paradise Jam at the University of the Virgin Islands.

“I thought we had a great defensive effort, especially in the first half” said head coach Karl Smesko. “It was good to see us really compete on the boards. It was a great team win.”

With the win, FGCU, who saw senior point guard Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) return to the lineup after missing the previous game due to dehydration, improves to 3-3 overall, while the Lady Pirates fell to 4-3 on the season. The Eagles are now 1-1 all-time against MEAC competition and avoided the first four-game losing streak in program history.

The Eagles, who led the nation in three-point field goals per game (10.7) last season, knocked down 6-of-18 shots from behind the arc.

Hansen, who was named to the All-Tournament team, scored her 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor in 37 minutes of action. Senior Joyce Iamstrong (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional South HS/Jefferson College) registered 10 points, six boards and four assists. Freshman Katie Meador (Salem, Ill./Salem Community HS) turned in a solid performance for the Eagles, finishing with six points, seven rebounds and five steals. Kennedy tallied eight points, five assists and three steals, while Jaime Gluesing (Solon, Ohio/Solon HS) chipped in with eight points and two steals.

Nicole Hamilton led Hampton with 17 points, while Olivia Allen added 13 points Lady Pirates.

Leading the Lady Pirates (11-10) 6:22 into the opening half, the Eagles used an 8-3 run, highlighted by a pair of Adams triples, to grab a 19-13 advantage with 10:01 on the clock. Hampton would respond with a quick 7-0 spurt to take a 20-19 lead (7:50).

The Green and Blue cranked up the defensive pressure and turned their defensive into offense over the final 7:38 of the opening period. FGCU closed out the half on a 16-6 run, highlighted by eight points from Hansen, and forced Hampton into four turnovers as they took a 35-26 lead into the intermission.

Hansen led the Eagles with eight points, six rebounds and five assists in the first half, as FGCU shot 41.2 percent (14-for-34) from the floor. Hampton shot 34.8 percent (8-for-23) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

FGCU opened the second half on a 7-4 spurt, taking a 42-30 lead at the 16:20 mark after a layup from Hansen. Hampton scored four straight to cut the lead to 42-34 with 15:46 left to play on a fastbreak layup from Nicole Hamilton.

Hansen put the Eagles back up by double digits with 14:07 left, scoring a layup to give FGCU a 44-34 lead. Olivia Allen hit a 3-pointer at the 12:32 mark to pull Hampton within 46-39. After FGCU took a 50-39 lead, HU’s Blake Jenkines hit a jumper at the 11:12 mark to cut the lead to 50-41.

The Eagles then went on an 8-3 spurt to take a 58-44 lead with 6:09 remaining.

A triple from Gluesing with 3:54 left in regulation gave the Eagles a 67-50 lead. The Lady Pirates tried to fight their way back into the contest, but couldn’t cut the deficit to single digits in the final minutes.

Hampton shot 36.8 percent (21-for-57) from the floor and hit 11 of its 15 free throws.

FGCU shot 46.6 percent (27-for-58) from the floor and hit six of 18 3-pointers. The Eagles also held a 40-34 edge on the glass and registered 19 assists on 27 made baskets.

The Eagles are back in action on Saturday, December 1 when they host Maine (1-5) at Alico Arena. Tip-off is set for 4:45 p.m.

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

USVI Paradise Jam Women’s Reef Division All-Tournament Team
Sarah Hansen (5) -- Florida Gulf Coast
Nicole Hamilton (2) -- Hampton
Brittany Hrynko (12) – DePaul
Ashley Bruner (21) – South Carolina
MVP: Aleighsa Welch (24) – South Carolina