Florida Gulf Coast
(27-5 (18-0 ASun))
3/8/2013 | Macon, Ga. - Hawkins Arena | Attendance: 0
|Florida Gulf Coast||47||26||73|
|Stats at a Glance||UNF||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.000
MACON, Ga. – Senior Joyce Iamstrong (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional South HS/Jefferson College) scored a game-high 22 points as the No. 1 seeded FGCU women’s basketball team knocked down an Atlantic Sun Tournament record 12 triples en route to a 73-44 win over No. 5 UNF in the semifinals held Friday afternoon at Hawkins Arena.
“I thought we played an excellent first half, especially Joyce (Iamstrong),” said head coach Karl Smesko. “The first half was exactly what we needed because we knew how tough North Florida played us during the regular season. Getting off to a fast start was very important to us.”
The Eagles, who have made at least one three-pointer in 229 consecutive contests and 341 of 342 games in program history, made a tournament record 12 triples on the day, led by four from Iamstrong. Redshirt Lerrin Cook (Kearny, Ariz./Ray HS/Yavapai College) buried the triple that gave the Eagles the record (2nd half; 9:54). The Green and Blue previously drained 11 three-pointers in the 2012 semifinals and finals, while Jacksonville State made 11 treys in 2000 vs. Jacksonville.
With its 21st straight victory, FGCU improves to 27-5 overall, while the Ospreys finish 12-19 on the season. The 21 wins in a row tie a program Division I record for consecutive wins (21; during 2011-12 season). The Blue and Green have now won seven straight over UNF, including three this season.
The top-seeded Eagles now move on to play No. 2 Stetson in the A-Sun Championship game on Saturday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m.
The Eagles have won 41 consecutive A-Sun games overall (including the conference tournament). FGCU’s 41 consecutive conference overall victories rank as the second longest streak in the country behind defending national champion Baylor (46).
Ranked No. 6 in the latest ESPN Mid-Major poll and receiving votes in the AP Top 25, the Green and Blue forced the Ospreys into 20 miscues, which led to 25 FGCU points off turnovers. North Florida’s 44 points mark the 19th time the Eagles, who led the conference in scoring defense during the regular season (52.5 ppg), have held an opponent to 55 points or fewer this season.
Iamstrong went a perfect 9-for-9 from the field to tie an A-Sun Championship record for field goal percentage. Iamstrong marked the second most attempts for the record only behind Georgia Southern's Phylette Blake, who went 10-for-10 vs. Florida A&M in 1988. The senior also went a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc to tie an A-Sun Championship record for three-point percentage. Freshman Jaime Gluesing (Solon, Ohio/Solon HS) chipped in with 13 points and three assists. 2013 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) recorded 12 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals, while 2013 A-Sun Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) finished with seven points, five boards, three steals and a pair of assists.
FGCU opened the game strong, using a 21-10 run, highlighted by 10 points from Iamstrong, over the first 6:30 of the opening period to grab a double-digit lead.
After a Ki Conner free-throw cut the Eagles’ lead down to eight points (21-13) with 11:40 on the clock, the Green and Blue employed a 20-8 spurt, capped by a layup from sophomore Anthi Chatzigiakoumi (Athens, Greece/General Sr. HS of Kallithea), to take a commanding 41-21 advantage (3:37).
The teams would play even over the final three minutes of the half and the Green and Blue took a 47-27 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Iamstrong led the Eagles with 19 points and three boards in the first half, while Gluesing added 10 points and a pair of assists. Iamstrong was perfect from the floor, knocking down 8-of-8 from the field and 3-of-3 from behind the arc. FGCU shot 56.3 percent (18-for-32) from the floor, while UNF shot 10-of-24 (41.7 percent) from the field. The Eagles knocked down eight of their 17 attempts from behind the arc in the first half, while forcing the Ospreys into 10 miscues in the opening 20 minutes.
FGCU opened the second half with an 18-7 scoring spurt, to pull ahead by 31 points (65-34) with 9:54 left on the clock, and never looked back. The Eagles went on to hold the Ospreys to 30.4 percent shooting in the second half en route to the 73-44 A-Sun Semifinal victory.
UNF finished the night with a 36.2 percent shooting percentage (17-of-47). Ki Conner led North Florida with 11 points.
Finishing the contest with a 47.5 shooting percentage, the Eagles, who came into the game ranked second in the nation in three-point field goals made per game (9.2), hit 12 triples on 29 attempts (41.4 percent), scored 32 points in the paint and tallied 18 assists on 28 made baskets.
The No. 1 seeded Eagles return to the court on Saturday, Mar. 9 to face No. 2 Stetson (23-8, 14-4 A-Sun) in the Championship Game of the 2013 Atlantic Sun Tournament. Tip at Mercer’s Hawkins Arena is set for 5:30 ET and the game can be seen live on Comcast Sports South (CSS) or online at ASun.TV and ESPN3.com (game will be blacked out in the CSS footprint). The game can also be heard live online at FGCUAthletics.com with David Moulton and J. Webb Horton on the call.
Fans can follow FGCU on Twitter (@FGCU_WBB), Instagram (@FGCUWbb) and on Facebook by liking FGCU Women’s Basketball (www.Facebook.com/FGCUWbb).