FSU next for streaking FGCU women
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On the strength of 26 points by Kaneisha Atwater and a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds by Whitney Knight, the No. 7 FGCU women’s basketball team used a 12-0 run late in the second half to pull away from No. 10 Oklahoma State and earn its first Division-I NCAA Tournament victory in program history 75-67 in the first round Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Eagles (31-2) move on to the second round, and extends their winning streak to 26 in a row.
The win avenges a 61-60 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in last year’s NCAA Tournament first round. The Eagles advance to play No. 2 Florida State, which defeated No. 15 Alabama State Saturday afternoon. The Sunshine State matchup is slated for 6 p.m. Monday with the winner earning a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
“This is a very exciting time for us,” said 13th-year head coach Karl Smesko. “We get our first Division I NCAA Tournament win. We beat a very good team and I’m definitely proud of the way we started the game. Oklahoma State posed a lot of challenges for us, but we had a lot of players step up. Kaneisha and Whitney had huge scoring games, but the whole team had to step up at different points and make plays and it was such a great team effort. I’m proud of our team and look forward to the opportunity to keep playing.”
Atwater and Knight combined for 45 of the team’s 75 points, with Jenna Cobb and Stephanie Haas adding 10 and nine, respectively. Knight and Atwater also led the rebounding efforts at 10 and eight.
As a unit, the Eagles connected on 45.2 percent of shots from the field with 11 made attempts from long range.