By Jordyn Matez
The FGCU women’s basketball team finished a conference-winning season and ended their 19-game win streak with a loss against No. 4 Miami in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night.
Keri Jewett-Giles, who said at the post-game press conference that this game was most likely her last as an Eagle, performed like it truly was her last and finished with a game-high 24 points over 37 minutes.
Graduate player Destiny Washington also finished her career with FGCU on a high-note, scoring 10 points for the Eagles.
Junior Tytionia Adderly led the defensive charge with a team-high nine rebounds and a pair of steals. Jewett-Giles contributed seven rebounds as well.
Going into the game, Miami seemed to hold a strong advantage on their home court. Two Hurricanes well over six feet tall were listed as starters — a strong contrast to FGCU’s tallest starters at 5’10.
Immediately after receiving the tipoff, Miami took their opportunity to begin the game with a 7-0 run, only ending with three-pointers by Washington and Jewett-Giles to put the Eagles on the board.
The Hurricanes capitalized on their early lead, scoring 21 on the Eagles’ 15 in the first.
While Miami brought the heat, FGCU was also lacking in offensive accuracy. Though entering the game as one of the top three-point shooting teams in the nation, the Eagles were outshot in the three-point range 66.7 percent to 30.8 percent in the first quarter.
The second quarter remained grim for FGCU as they were unable to close the wide margin Miami had created and once again were outshot, this time 46.2 percent to 22.2 percent from the field.
In true FGCU fashion, the Eagles came back onto the court in the second half looking for action.
Defense was a key factor going into the third and, after a couple nicely-timed steals, handed FGCU the opportunity they needed to climb back from a 12-point deficit.
A five-point run and a three-pointer from Washington closed the gap and brought the score to 45 all to make it an equal ball-game.
The final ten minutes began similar to the first, with the score tied up at 48-48. The lead bounced between teams for the first minutes, but three fouls in a row allowed Miami the chance to score five points on FGCU in free-throws alone.
This berth was all Miami needed to shift the momentum and secure a win.
Miami’s offensive performance was crucial to their win as they outshot FGCU in all aspects of the game, going 44 percent (22-50) from the field overall.
FGCU (31.8 percent, 21-66), though remaining vigilant in their effort until the final buzzer, failed to match the constant momentum seen from Miami from the beginning.
“I’m proud of the way we fought back in the second half,” FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. “It didn’t work out for us, but I’m proud of the effort our young ladies had. We’ll be back.