FLORIDA GULF COAST
11/27/2013 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico | Attendance: 0
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|Stats at a Glance||STAN||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.385
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – In a matchup with one of the nation’s most storied women’s basketball programs, the FGCU women’s basketball team fell to Stanford, 83-59, Wednesday evening at the Puerto Vallarta Convention Center. With the loss, the Eagles fall to 3-3 on the season, while No. 6 Stanford improves to 6-1.
The Stanford victory will go down in history as Head Coach Tara VanDerveer’s 900th career win. In her 35th season, VanDerveer currently ranks fourth among all-time NCAA coaches.
For the Eagles, the game was highlighted by a season-high 14 successful 3-point shots, which is recorded as a Hardwood Tournament of Hope single-game record.
“Today was a tough challenge for us. Stanford is obviously a very talented team,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “They were tough inside and created a strong attack from 3-point range but I’m proud of the way we responded. We took good shots at the basket and we had a couple of nice runs. I think we put up a strong effort and this challenge will help us as the season continues.”
Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Westwood High School) led the Eagles with a season-high 15 points in 30 minutes. Atwater’s five 3-pointers is a career-high for the sophomore. Stephanie Haas (Lake Avon, Ohio/Magnificat High School) added 14 points on six made field goals for the Eagles, while Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) put up 11 in the loss.
Atwater and fellow transfer Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School) led the Eagles on the glass with six rebounds each.
Overall, the Eagles shot 30.3 percent from the field with a 31.8 shooting percentage from 3-point range. The Cardinal converted 49.2 percent of shots with a 38.5 mark from beyond-the arc. Stanford out-performed FGCU on the glass, 47-33 and made 11-of-14 free throws in the win.
The Eagles recorded just nine turnovers in the contest, while forcing eight Cardinal turnovers.
The Green and Blue won the tipoff but saw Stanford take a 4-0 lead to begin the game. A three from Atwater put the Eagles on the scoreboard before the Cardinal extended its advantage to seven points in the first four minutes of play.
FGCU responded with 3-pointers from Hansen and Haas to bring the score to 13-9 five minutes in.
Stanford produced a 14-point run midway through the half to extend its lead to a half-high 22 points before a free-throw from Knight cut the streak. The Eagles responded with seven-straight points of their own to bring the score to 34-19 with six minutes to play but allowed a 3-point shot from Stanford to stop the run.
The teams traded shots from beyond-the-arc in the final minutes of the half before Stanford used a last-minute layup to extend its lead to 45-28 at the break.
The Eagles shot 31.8 percent in the first period, while allowing the Cardinal to convert 50 percent of shots. Stanford outrebounded FGCU, 26-14 and scored 14 second-chance points. Although they trailed, the Green and Blue maintained strong ball control with just six turnovers, while forcing five Cardinal miscues.
Three minutes into the second half Stanford held a 19-point lead but two free throws from Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) and a made 3-pointer by Amanda Moore (Seymour, Ind./Seymour High School) cut the deficit to 14 points just one minute later.
The Cardinal maintained the momentum in the contest but midway through the second half Cobb cut the deficit to 61-43 on a strong drive to the basket. The Eagles stopped the Cardinal from scoring on the next possession and brought the score to 61-45 on a layup from Haas.
Stanford responded with a six-point run to regain control of the contest with a 22-point lead and took a game-high 31-point lead with five minutes remaining on the clock.
Baskets from Atwater, Moore and Haas enabled the Eagles to take an 8-2 run in the final minutes before another long-range shot from Atwater in the final 25 seconds sealed the final score at 83-59.
Stanford All-American candidate Chiney Ogwumike led all players with 27 points on the night, while two other Cardinal players added double-figure points. Ogwumike also led all players with 13 rebounds.
After breaking for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Green and Blue will conclude the 2013 Hardwood Tournament of Hope with a 2:30 p.m. EST tipoff against South Dakota State on Friday afternoon. The Eagles will return to Alico Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 4 to host USF in a 7 p.m. matchup.
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.