FGCU women’s basketball comes up short of regular season crown with overtime loss to Stetson
With a chance to claim its seventh consecutive ASUN regular-season title in its regular-season finale, the FGCU women’s basketball team fell short of the regular-season crown with a 67-64 loss to Stetson in overtime.
Leading the way on offense in the Eagles loss, Erica Nelson finished with 17 points despite only playing 17 minutes due to foul trouble.
Playing a season-high 45 minutes, Jordin Alexander finished with 15 points. Joining Alexander and Nelson in double figures, China Dow and Tytiona Adderly finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
With the game tied at 54 with two seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, China Dow inbounded the ball to Rosemarie Julien right under the net, but Julien’s effort just missed the basket as both teams headed into overtime to determine the regular-season winner.
Despite swapping the first eight points in overtime with the Eagles, Stetson took a 60-58 lead with 1:14 remaining thanks to a jumper by Brittney Chambers.
Drawing a foul on the ensuing possession, Tytiona Adderly went 1-2 from the charity stripe to bring the Eagles within one.
After McKenna Beach converted both of her free throws to push the Hatters lead to three, 62-59, China Dow converted a layup in traffic to bring the Eagles within one.
With time against them, the Eagles quickly fouled following Dow’s lay-in to send Stetson to the line with 13.4 seconds on the clock.
Brianti Saunders went 2-2 from the line to push the Hatters lead to three, 64-61. After Stetson increased its lead, a turnover by the Eagles put the final nail in the coffin, as they committed an inbounds infraction that turn the ball back over to Stetson with 12.1 seconds remaining.
The Hatters knocked down three more free-throws to push their lead to six with four seconds remaining before China Dow knocked down a three to secure the regular-season title and the number one seed in the ASUN tournament with a 67-64 victory over FGCU.
“We just didn’t make the last play,” FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. “We were in a position to win the game, and we just came up a little short. I thought our kids played hard. There were just a few too many mental mistakes to win the game. I’m sure there are a lot of plays down the stretch that we’ll be reliving. We just needed one more play.”
Seeing the Eagles honor their four seniors prior to the last regular-season game of their collegiate careers, Erica Nelson talked about her pursuit of the ASUN tournament title following their loss.
“I want it a lot,” said Nelson. “Just from my year not winning (a championship) at Johnson County and just wanting to experience that with the seniors. Like Jordi (in Alexander), just seeing her face after made me hurt even more because she’s out here playing 45 minutes. Just seeing her, it hurt me for her so I want to do it for her and everybody else in this senior class.”
With the second seed in the ASUN Tournament, the Eagles will take on UNF on Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at Alico Arena. After losing to Jacksonville in the final last year, FGCU will look to book a trip to the NCAA tournament with a successful swing in the ASUN tournament.