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Cattani reaches 400 career points in Eagles win on Saturday

Looking to keep the momentum going in their final non-conference game before opening up ASUN play next Saturday, the Eagles rolled over Florida Memorial with Jessica Cattani setting a career high in points with 23.

Also for Cattani, she has now eclipsed 400 points in her career. With the win, FGCU has a chance to become the top-ranked in mid-major in the country after top-seeded Green Bay lost to former conference member Northern Kentucky, and the Eagles beat second-ranked South Dakota State on Friday.

“We got off to a really good start,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “It allowed us to play more people and get a chance to look at some kids who haven’t gotten a lot of playing time. I saw some really positive things, especially on the defensive end.”

With Lisa Zderadicka in the starting lineup for the first time this year and Taylor Gradinjan getting the night off, FGCU opened the game up 14-0, with Cattani sinking home the first three-pointer for the Eagles.

The lions would miss their first 10 shots from the field and score their only six points of the quarter from the free-throw line, trailing FGCU 23-6 after the first 10 minutes.

FGCU scored the first eight points of the second quarter, with Cattani knocking down another triple. Florida Memorial would finally get their first field goal with 5:57 remaining in the first half on a layup from Brittney Howard.

Despite shooting just above 22 percent in the second quarter and only making five of their first 25 three-pointers in the first half, the Eagles still maintained a 23-point lead heading into halftime.

Shortly later, the Eagles came out and hit their first six of seven shots in the second quarter to go up 54-20, and scored 20 more points in the third quarter compared to the Lions, who scored 4.

In a much more competitive fourth quarter, a few Eagles got extended minutes late in the game from both Sheahen Dowling and Liberty Brown, who each contributed with a three-pointer.

Now with non-conference games in the books, FGCU will open ASUN play on Saturday in a rematch of the ASUN championship game last season with Stetson in a double header at 4 p.m., with the men’s team following against the Hatters.

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