February 27, 20141st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceLIPFGCU
FG Percentage.390 (23-59) .588 (40-68)
3P FG Percentage.375 (9-24) .500 (12-24)
FT Percentage.750 (12-16) .842 (16-19)
Offensive Rebounds811
Defensive Rebounds1930
Total Rebounds2741
Bench Points2540
ReboundsSOUTHERN - 8
AssistsSMITH - 4
StealsSMITH - 2
Women's basketball can't keep pace with scorching FGCU
Thursday, February 27, 2014
By Kirk Downs
Women's basketball can't keep pace with scorching FGCU

FT. MYERS, Fla. – The Lipscomb women’s basketball team the faced co-leader of the Atlantic Sun Conference and the Lady Bisons did not like what they saw.  

Florida Gulf Coast shot lights out for the contest, but especially in the first half. Behind a 68 percent field goal percentage in the first period, the Eagles controlled the Lady Bisons for 40 minutes en route to a 108-67 victory in Alico Arena Thursday night in Fort Myers.

“You have to give them (FGCU) credit,” Lipscomb coach Greg Brown said. “They came out and executed their game plan and played very hard. They knocked down shots all game. We did not carry out our game emphasis tonight.”

“I thought we had a good week of practice this week. But this will be a good lesson for us to learn.”

The Eagles improved to 21-7 overall, 15-1 in the league. The Lady Bisons slipped to 5-21 overall, 2-13 in the A-Sun. 

With action bantering back and forth to start the game, Lipscomb jumped on the scoreboard with a 3-point basket from Kelli Smith at the 19:35 mark following a Kaneisha Atwater layup to give the Lady Bisons a quick 3-2 lead. After a Whitney Knight 3-pointer put FGCU back on top, Sarah Hansen, Preseason A-Sun Player of the Year, scored six straight points to give the Eagles an 11-5 lead less than four minutes into the action

Over the next 10 minutes, FGCU used a 20-4 run to build its lead to 29-9.

Junior Sara Bliss banged home a couple of treys in the first half to give her 10 points at the break. She would only score one point in the second half.

The Eagles hit eight first half 3-pointers to take a 37-point lead into the break at 64-27. It was the most points the Lady Bisons had given up in a half this season.

FGCU showed why they rank second in the nation, averaging 10 made 3-pointers per game. They drained 12.

“Our whole point of emphasis entering the game was taking away their ability to shoot the three,” Brown said. “We thought that if we held them to under seven, we would have a chance to win, or at least be in good shape. But we can’t give up 12 to a team like that.”

The Eagles used a 9-0 run to start the second half and extend their lead to 73-29. From there the Lady Bisons defense buckled down and battled bucket for bucket but was never able to gain much traction.

The A-Sun’s leading scorer, Danay Fothergill, dropped 10 of her team-leading 12 points in the second half. She also added four rebounds.

Ashley Southern, the A-Sun Newcomer of the Week, failed to get a double-double and finished the contest with nine points and eight rebounds. She averaged 28 points and 11 boards in the previous two contests.

Elise Spann scored a career-high 11 points for the Lady Bisons on 4-of-8 shooting. Smith added seven points and four assists.

The Eagles put seven players in double-figures, led by Atwater’s 16.

Hansen finished with 13 and 10 boards. Whitney Knight pitched in 15 points and four rebounds.

Lipscomb finished hitting 23-of-59 shots for 39 percent, 9-of-24 from behind the arc for 37.5 percent and 12-of-16 from the stripe for 75 percent.

FGCU shot 58.8 percent while knocking down 40-of-68 field goal attempts, 12-of-24 from three and 16-of-19 from the line.

“We just were not able to get off as many shots as them,” Brown said. “A lot of that is our turnovers. We had nine in the first half. We were also pressured and rushed our shots at times. Our defense didn’t give up any easy baskets.”

The Eagles outrebounded Lipscomb 41-27.

“Florida Gulf Coast was much more aggressive on the defensive boards,” Brown said. “They played like a team that leads the conference.”

The Lady Bisons return to the court on Saturday, when they travel to DeLand, Fla. for a noon tip with Stetson. 

“Our team has been pretty resilient all year,” Brown said. “We just have to get back at it tomorrow and refocus on Stetson and move on. It doesn’t affect our overall scheme and this loss did not hurt our chances at getting in the tournament.”