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Women’s Basketball Overcomes Slow Start to Sweep Stetson

Jessica Piland

On Feb. 24, the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated the 15-13 Stetson Hatters 68-52. This win marks the Eagles’ 17th straight to keep them undefeated in ASUN conference play.

The Eagles returned home from a two-game road trip where they earned wins over the Kennesaw State Owls and Queens University Royals. Their victory over Queens marked the Eagles’ seventh straight regular season championship.

It was a big test for the Eagles as they faced the second best team in the ASUN Conference, the Stetson Hatters. The Hatters entered this game on a four game winning streak and had won eight of their last nine games. 

Throughout the first half, both teams were in a tightly contested defensive battle as the  Eagles led 33-30 . FGCU was not phased by this as the Eagles broke free in the second half behind a 21-8 run in the third quarter. The Eagles kept this momentum throughout the rest of the second half.

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With the Eagles maintaining a big fourth quarter lead, the starters were pulled with two minutes left in the game. This was FGCU’s 27th home victory in a row, which puts them with the third-longest home winning streak in the nation. This puts them only behind the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Gonzaga University Bulldogs.

Fifth-year student Uju Ezeudu led the way for the Eagles with 20 points and 10 rebounds, securing a double-double in the game. Redshirt junior Emani Jefferson also put up double figures in scoring with 14 points. Graduate student Shekinah Guthrie also put up nine points off the bench as she made some critical shots in her 15 minutes of playing time. 

After her double-double, Ezeudu was named ASUN Player of the Week, her first time earning this award. Jefferson won her fifth ASUN Newcomer of the Week. While Ezeudu was proud of her efforts, she also had great support for her teammates, who were all able to play hard late into the game.

“I thought as a team we did really well in the second half when we came back, and we really made them call timeout in the first couple minutes, and that is one of our goals,” Ezeudu said. “So I think as a team, we did well. Going into the second half, we knew we were a much better team.”

As the Eagles prepare for their final regular season games, head coach Karl Smesko has the team locked in and ready for the looming postseason.

“March is too close, so there can not be any complacency now,” Smesko said. “We are committed to getting better, and we are going to come in, watch film, and learn from this game.”

The Eagles will stay at home with two more regular season games later this week, starting with the North Florida Ospreys later today.

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About the Contributor
Jessica Piland
Jessica Piland, Eagle News Photo Editor
Jessica Piland is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in global studies. She found her passion for photography during her senior year of high school after shooting some film for fun with her grandfather’s camera from the 80s. In addition to her work as photo editor for Eagle News, she works as a staff photographer for FGCU Athletics and is a photography intern with the University Marketing and Communications department. As she enters her third year as photo editor, she is excited for the fun stories, campus events, and breaking news that Eagle News will be covering!

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