(6-17 | 4-9 ASun)
FLORIDA GULF COAST
(18-7 | 12-1 ASun)
2/15/2014 | Alico Arena - Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 2004
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||31||45||76|
|Stats at a Glance||KSU||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.231
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Led by strong defensive execution, the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Kennesaw State 76-42 in front of a season-high crowd of 2,004 Saturday night at Alico Arena. With the win, the Eagles improve to 18-7 on the season with a 12-1 mark in Atlantic Sun action, while the Owls fall to 6-18 with a 4-9 conference record.
The win marks the team’s 54th-consecutive A-Sun win at Alico Arena. The victory also guarantees that the Eagles will host at least the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament on Tuesday, March 11.
FGCU held the Owls to just 13 points in the first half, while producing a 20-2 run that spanned a period of 10 minutes. After holding Kennesaw to just 23.8 percent from the floor and forcing 13 turnovers in the first half, the Eagles entered halftime with a 31-13 lead. The Green and Blue maintained the momentum in the second half with strong offensive pressure. FGCU shot 57 percent from the floor with a 58 percent mark from the perimeter to outscore KSU 45-29 in the second half and in turn take the win, 76-42.
“I thought our defense was excellent,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “In the first half, I thought we played great defense; we executed the game plan to a very high level. I thought offensively we weren’t quite doing what we planned but our defense was so good that we were still able to control the game. In the second half, we played good defense again and we were able to get into our transition game a lot better. We got higher quality shots in the second half and had a number of players contribute.”
Individually, junior captain Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School/Butler) led the Eagles with a career-high 23 points on the night. Cobb went 7-for-9 from the field with three 3-pointers and sank a perfect 6-of-6 shots from the charity stripe. Cobb also added three steals and three rebounds with no turnovers. Senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) contributed 12 points and seven rebounds for FGCU and also went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
As a unit, the Eagles shot 50 percent from the field with a 37.5 percent clip from 3-point range. The team forced 22 Kennesaw turnovers and outrebounded the Owls 34-26.
For the second-consecutive game, the Eagles never allowed their opponent to score more than four-straight points. The Owl’s point total was the third fewest of an Eagle opponent this season.
The teams traded baskets and the lead to begin the contest and held a tie score at 11 near the 12 minute mark. After two scoreless minutes for both teams, Hansen put the Eagles ahead 13-11 with two made free throws. Cobb followed with two more shots from the free-throw line before a steal and a long-range shot from Katie Meador (Salem, Ill./Salem Community High School) gave the Eagles a seven-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the half.
The home team capitalized on its strong defensive presence and produced a 20-2 run that spanned the last 10 minutes of the half. The Eagles forced six turnovers during the run and held the Owls scoreless for periods of five minutes and seven minutes.
After 20 minutes of action, the Eagles held a 31-13 lead.
Eight points from Cobb in the first five minutes of the second half helped the Eagles increase their lead to 41-17 and maintain control of the game. The Owls scored at a higher rate than in the first half but could not stop the Eagles’ offensive production.
Midway through the half, the Eagles used a 10-3 run to go ahead 54-22. KSU stopped the streak with a layup from its leading scorer Kristina Wells, but the Eagles were quick to respond to each comeback attempt the Owls created.
The Eagles extended their lead to a game-high 37 points with eight minutes remaining and ultimately earned a 34-point victory. The win marked the third time in two weeks that the Eagles outscored their opposition by greater than 25 points.
The Green and Blue will continue the season across the Sunshine State next weekend as the team travels to Jacksonville and North Florida. Tipoff against JU is slated for 5 p.m. on Thursday at Swisher Gymnasium.
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.