By Cole Potts
FGCU women’s basketball defeated No. 20 USF 81-77 on Friday afternoon. The win marks the program’s fourth win over a ranked team and the second highest-ranked team that they have beat since FGCU’s win over No. 15 Missouri in 2018.
This comes less than 24 hours after the Eagles defeated national runner-up Notre Dame 69-60.
With USF scoring 19 of the first 28 points in the game, the Eagles fought hard to shorten the lead. They managed to do so as Alyssa Blair hit two three-pointers, and Tytionia Adderly hit a buzzer-beating layup to pull the Eagles within four at the end of the first
Senior Nasrin Ulel reached 1,000 career points as she hit a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer. Shooting 9-22 from the field, five of which were three-pointers, Ulel finished the game with a game-high 23 points.
The Eagles never amounted a lead in the third quarter but started the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run. With only a lead of three points and 1:14 left, Ashli O’Neal went 5-6 on free throws to extend the lead for the Eagles. Drawing an offensive foul on a made USF three-pointer, O’Neal prevented the Bulls from coming back within three. The Eagles then secured the win as USF’s final attempt at a layup fell shot.
Senior Tytionia Adderly led the team with 10 rebounds, and Ashli O’Neal led the team with six assists while sinking 9 of 10 baskets from the free-throw line.
“We beat a very good and well-coached team,” FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. “It was great to see so many people make positive contributions… Whenever we needed a basket or needed to do something, someone stepped up.”
The FGCU women’s basketball team will close out the Cancun Challenge when the face South Dakota State for the tournament championship this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.