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FGCU women’s basketball routs USC Upstate to earn program’s 400th victory

(EN Photos / Brad Young)

Following its 98-50 victory over Lipscomb on Monday, Feb. 13, the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated USC Upstate 80-50 to earn the program’s 400th victory.
Moving to 11-1 in ASUN play, the Eagles victory guarantees them a top-two seed in the ASUN Championship.
“We got off to a good start, and I was happy with our defensive effort,” said FGCU head coach Karl Smesko in a FGCU athletics press release. “As the game went on, we weren’t executing offensively as well as we’d like, but I was happy with the performance overall.”
Coming off of her 21 point performance against Lipscomb, Haley Laughter led the Eagles’ shooting from long range once again scoring 13 points on 3-7 shooting from behind the arc and 5-9 from the clip.
Mirroring Laughter’s 13 points with 13 of her own, Rosemarie Julien finished with 13 points on 5-8 shooting, knocking down one triple and snatching four rebounds.
Rounding out FGCU’s double figure scorers, Jessica Cattani and Jordin Alexander finished with 12 points apiece. Dishing out five assists and coming away with three steals, Alexander shot 6-8 from the floor while Cattani followed up her 21 point performance against Lipscomb shooting 4-5 from the clip.
Opening the game with the Spartans’ administration receiving a technical foul, the Eagles quickly jumped out to a lead following a three from Laughter in the first 30 seconds of play.
Following a basket from the Spartan’s Breanna Jefferson, FGCU went on a 12-0 run fueled by a pair of threes from Julien and Taylor Gradinjan to lead 24-10 at the end of one.
Opening the second quarter with back-to-back buckets, USC Upstate sparked a 7-3 run. With both teams going scoreless for the next two minutes of play before Julien ended the scoring drought, the Eagles scored eight points before the buzzer to go into the half leading 43-20.
Laughter got things going again in the second half, opening the scoring with a shot from behind the arc. The Spartans’ leading scorer Raven Jefferson responded with a three of her but Laughter came back on offense a minute later and buried her third triple of the night.
Sparking a 13-6 run highlighted by two shots from long range courtesy of Cattani and Mikala McGhee, the Eagles went into the final quarter with a 64-29 lead.
With 35 points between them, the teams split the first 10 points of the final quarter. Leading the Eagles on offense scoring five of her 12 points in the fourth, Cattani knocked down her second triple of the game before USC Upstate sparked a 14-8 run to close the game.
In game two of its final two game road trip of the regular-season, FGCU will travel to Newark, New Jersey to face NJIT on Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

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