FGCU women are heading back to the NCAA tournament
When the final horn sounded the Florida Gulf Coast University women’s basketball team celebrated like the just won the Atlantic Sun title.
Well, they did, kind of.
FGCU (29-2, 14-0 A-Sun) defeated Jacksonville (12-17, 6-8) 62-42 in the A-Sun semifinals in front of 2,562 people Wednesday night but for FGCU it was the second most important game of the night.
In the other semifinal Northern Kentucky defeated Stetson 53-52 which as a result gave FGCU the A-Sun’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
“I honestly didn’t even hear the announcement,” FGCU senior Jenna Cobb said.
I know you’re confused so here’s the lowdown. NKU, like FGCU from 2007-11, is going through a Division-I transitional period and is ineligible for NCAA postseason play. So by default, win or lose on Sunday, FGCU will be in the NCAA tournament.
However there is no celebrating until after Sunday for FGCU.
“Right now we’re in the middle of something that we’re trying to complete and that’s to win the conference tournament,” FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. “Getting back to the NCAA tournament was one of our overriding goals.”
FGCU will make their third trip to the NCAA tournament in four years. The previous two the Eagles fell to St. Bonaventure 72-65 in 2012 and in 2014 fell to Oklahoma State 61-60. Both of those games were in overtime.
FGCU plays NKU on Sunday at 2:30 for the Atlantic Sun championship at Alico Arena.