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Jessica Cattani leads Eagles to win over Ave Maria

Coming off perhaps the Eagles’ biggest win at home in program history over #20 Kentucky, FGCU went up against its second NAIA program this week against Ave Maria, winning 99-35.

Jessica Cattani led the Eagles in points coming off the bench, tying a career high with 21 points. Alyssa Blair and Chandler Ryan each added 12 points as the Eagles’ bench outscored their opponent 60-12.

“I don’t care what the score is,” head coach Karl Smesko said. “I want to see whoever is on the floor for us playing well and doing well. If there is something they are doing wrong, I am going to correct them. I’m going to be into the game from the tip-off to the final buzzer. If they get into the game, they want a coach that will be into the game.”

A season ago, the Eagles defeated the Gyrenes 101-34, and it seemed pretty similar to that game, as the Eagles opened up the game on a 16-2 run on two three-pointers from Cattani and one from Erica Nelson, forcing Ave Maria to call time out.

The Eagles allowed only one field goal in the first quarter and led 31-6 with Tytionia Adderly two points and a rebound away from a double-double.

Adderly picked up that double-double midway through the second quarter with Smesko using 11 different players. The Eagles held a 52-17 advantage heading into halftime.

The first three from Ave Maria came in the third quarter after missing its first three, but FGCU’s offense continued to dominate as Alyssa Blair knocked down her second shot and Cattani scored nine points in the quarter.

The only question left in the fourth quarter was if the Eagles would reach triple figures for a third straight time versus the Gyrenes, but they fell a point shy as Liberty Brown and Samantha Kisiel both hit threes in route to the 64-point win.

After a day off on Monday, FGCU will turn its attention to Chattanooga on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. in Tennessee. The Eagles won the last meeting at Alico Arena 68-55 last season.

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