After sluggish start, FGCU women's basketball gets first win in A-Sun tourney
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 15:02
After a very slow and sluggish start to the game, the Florida Gulf Coast University women's basketball team used a 17-0 to get their first ever victory in the Atlantic Sun tournament by defeating East Tennessee State 79-63.
FGCU (27-2, 19-0 A-Sun) went back and forth with ETSU (8-22, 7-12 A-Sun) all first half. ETSU led most of the half until the final four minutes when FGCU got their largest lead of four going into the half.
"In the first half we were attacking the basket pretty well," FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. "We got them in foul trouble. We got to their second group and I thought ‘this is the chance to extend the lead' but they kept playing tough and really well and I wasn't feeling that great."
However in the second half the Eagles used a 17-0 run to spark the Eagles to victory. FGCU didn't allow ETSU to score for the first 4:29 of the second half. Senior Eglah Griffin led the Eagles with seven points in that span making a three and two layups.
"Coach told me at the half that I was taking too deep of shots so I decided to move in," Griffin said. "In the second half it just felt good when it left my hand."
Griffin ended with 16 points.
Redshirt sophomore Sarah Hansen went 3-3 and added six points in the run.
"Coach Dermyer told me to get to the rim every single time," Hansen said. "She said to focus on getting to the rim and that's what I did pretty much every time. I just ran to the rim on conversions and my teammates were throwing me the ball."
Hansen ended with a team high 22 points
That run sparked FGCU to make four of their first five three-pointers and helped the Eagles jump out to a 20-point lead that ETSU just couldn't erase.
"We just came out in the second half with more focus and more execution," senior Kelsey Jacobson said.
The run also sparked what seemed to be a dying offense. FGCU shot just 31 percent from the field in the first half and an abysmal 24 percent from behind the arc. They were 4-17 from behind the arc; the only thing that kept the Eagles in the game was them making 16 of 18 free throws and 26-30 overall. Freshman Whitney Knight finished 6-6 and senior Courtney Chihil finished 10-10.
"We were able to attack and fortunately ETSU was really aggressive and was fouling us so making all those free throws was a huge advantage for us," Smesko said.
The second half was a different story FGCU shot 57 percent from the field and 56 from behind the arc.
FGCU will now face off against the winner of either (4) University of North Florida or (5) Kennesaw State Friday March 2ndat noon. FGCU defeated both UNF and Kennesaw two times each this season.
"They are two teams that played us really tough the second time around," Smesko said. "They were both games that went down to the last few minutes. They are both very physical teams, both very athletic. UNF has been really hot lately and Kennesaw gave us the best game we had at home all year. We know it's going to be tough and that's the way it should be in the tournament."