The 12th-seeded FGCU women’s basketball team made a valiant effort, but, in the end, it was a matter of one missed basket that cost the Eagles the game against 5th-seeded Oklahoma State in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at Purdue’s Mackey Arena.
At one point midway through the first half, the Eagles led by 10 points but Oklahoma recovered and the game ended in a 57-57 tie, forcing the game into overtime.
Both teams struggled, with FGCU’s Jenna Cobb scoring a 3-pointer to Oklahoma’s four points, two coming with just 40 second remaining, giving Oklahoma a one-point margin of victory.
“This is a very frustrating way to go out,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “March can be cruel sometimes. I’m really proud of our team and the way we played, we just didn’t finish regulation. We needed to make one more play in overtime to advance. Give Oklahoma State credit. They fought and refused to lose.
“When you’re playing a team as good as Oklahoma State, you can’t just hope the time runs out,” he said. “You have to make a play to win the game and I think we got tentative, especially the last four or five minutes. We weren’t as aggressive as we probably could have been.”
The FGCU women’s basketball team will return all players from the 2013-14 season with the exception of standout senior Sarah Hansen who concludes her career with 1,901 points and 887 rebounds. She graduates as the all-time leader in 12 categories, including points, rebounds, steals, field goals made and ranks seventh among A-Sun all-time point producers.
The FGCU women's basketball team claimed a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, triumphing over Stetson, 72-70, in a thrilling overtime win Sunday afternoon, capturing the Atlantic Sun Championship title game at Alico Arena.
With the win, the Eagles move to 26-7 on the season, while Stetson falls to 26-7.
“I am so proud of our team in the way that they were able to pull out this game, keep their composure and play so well during the overtime period,” says head coach Karl Smesko. “Stetson is the best Atlantic Sun team that we’ve faced since we’ve been in the A-Sun. We feel fortunate to win and to get the automatic bid to represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament.”
FGCU advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 as a No. 12 seed and will learn its tournament destination and opponent for this year’s tournament at 7 p.m. Monday. Fans are encouraged to join the team at Alico Arena for a Selection Show Viewing Party. The doors open at 6 p.m.; the event begins at 6:30. The live show starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN and will feature live action shots from Alico Arena.