FLORIDA GULF COAST
2/1/2014 | Highland Heights, Ky. | Attendance: 1211
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||21||22||43|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||NKU|
|3P FG Percentage||.308
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The FGCU women’s basketball team’s nation-high 44-game Atlantic Sun win streak was halted Saturday night at The Bank of Kentucky Center as the Eagles were defeated 63-43 by Northern Kentucky University. With the loss, the Eagles fall to 14-7 on the season with an 8-1 mark in conference action, while the Norse improve to 11-9 and 7-2 in league play. The Eagles maintain a first-place standing, tied with rival Stetson University.
Saturday marked the first conference loss for the Eagles since Feb. 28, 2011 and the team’s largest margin of defeat since joining the A-Sun in 2007. The team has never scored fewer than 43 points in a contest.
“They definitely dominated the last seven minutes of the first half,” said head coach Karl Smesko of the loss. “We couldn’t get a good shot and their defense was excellent. They out hustled us and executed at a much higher level. They played a great game and we really weren’t up for the challenge.”
After producing a 10-point run to take the lead midway through the first half, the Eagles were held scoreless for seven minutes and saw as the Norse produced a 23-point streak that spanned the first and second half. NKU converted 7-of-12 3-point shots in the second half to extend its lead to a game-high 22 points and maintained a significant advantage through the end of the game.
As a team, the Eagles shot 31.9 percent from the floor, while allowing the home team to convert 48.9 percent of shot attempts. The Norse made 50 percent of their 3-point attempts and sank 8-of-8 free throws. The Eagles were held to 30 percent from 3-point range and committed 21 turnovers. NKU also out-performed FGCU on the glass with a 36-23 rebound advantage.
Individually, Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) was the Eagle’s top contributor. Knight recorded 19 points with 5-of-8 long-range shots and four blocks. Katie Meador (Salem, Ill./Salem Community High School) added eight points and five rebounds, including four offensive boards and six points on second-chance put backs. Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) led the team with six rebounds.
The teams traded baskets to open the game before a five-point run enabled the home team to take a slight lead, which it maintained through the midpoint of the half. The Norse held the Eagles to fewer than 10 points by forcing four early turnovers and winning the rebound battle.
With 9:47 on the clock, senior captain Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) sparked an Eagle run with a 3-point bucket. Knight added five points before two Meador layups increased the FGCU run to 12-consecutive points and gave the Eagles a 21-13 lead with 7:20 left in the half.
The home team quickly retaliated with three baskets to tie the game at 21. The Norse added 11-straight points to take control of the game and held the Eagles scoreless for over seven minutes to end the half.
The Eagles turned the ball over three times and missed eight shots in the final seven minutes to enable NKU to hold a 32-21 lead at the break.
NKU extended its streak to 23 points in the opening minutes of the second half before Hansen cut the run with two made shots from the free-throw line. Another long-range basket from Knight cut the deficit to 11 points but NKU quickly responded with a three of its own to bring the score to 42-26.
The Eagles pressured the NKU offense but could not bring the score within single digits. Midway through the second half the Norse produced another eight-point run to increase their lead to a game-high 22 points at 55-33.
FGCU missed five 3-point attempts and turned the ball over twice in the final minutes of the game, enabling the Norse to maintain the advantage and ultimately earn the 20-point victory.
NKU saw double-digit scoring from two players and recorded a season-high 3-point percentage en route to its seventh A-Sun victory of the season.
FGCU will return to Fort Myers for a brief time before traveling to Johnson City, Tenn. in an effort to rebound from the loss. The Eagles will face ETSU on Thursday, Feb. 6 and will continue a weekend road trip with a matchup at USC Upstate on Saturday, Feb. 8.
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.