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FORT MEYERS, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2011) – Kelsey Jacobson netted eight of FGCU’s 16 three-pointers to finish with a game-high 24 points, while Nicoya Jackson added 20 points and eight rebounds off the bench, as the Eagles went on to defeat the Lady Bucs, 88-60, in front of 2,574 fans Saturday night inside Alico Arena.
The Eagles, who hit a NCAA record-tying 21 threes in their previous game, netted three more treys above their season average en route to improving to 5-1, 1-0 in Atlantic Sun Conference play. Meanwhile, the Lady Bucs have now dropped their first eight games to start the season (0-8, 0-2), tying the longest losing streak in program history which was set back in 1991-92.
Despite suffering the lop-sided loss, the Blue and Gold received a strong effort from freshman Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.). Bond finished with a career-high 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and six rebounds in her first collegiate start. Meanwhile, senior guard Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) scored in double figures for the second straight outing as she tallied 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, and zero turnovers in 26 minutes of play.
“Coming into the game we knew this was going to be tough because FGCU is a very good team,” added Kemp, whose Lady Bucs are in the midst of a season-long five-game road swing. “We came out and played well for the first ten minutes at the start, but we just couldn’t answer the run they threw at us to close the half. FGCU is a good three-point shooting team and we focused on that leading up to this game, but once they get the crowd behind them, they’re very difficult to stop.
“As far as Maria goes, we knew she could help us right away when we were recruiting her. The only thing limiting Maria’s minutes is her defense, and that’s a problem with most freshman when they make the jump to playing at the Division I level. She’s learning and picking things up each day she steps out on the floor, and she’s only going to get better and better as the season continues.”
The first half was a game of runs, but after the first 20 minutes of play the Eagles held the upper hand as FGCU closed out the final eight minutes, fifty-nine seconds on a 20-5 run to take an 18-point lead into the break, 40-22.
Early on in the first half both teams played pretty evenly, but with the Lady Bucs holding a 7-5 lead, FGCU used the three-point shot to post a 15-2 run and opened an 11-point advantage, 20-9, as three Eagle players registered a triple from the 15:55 mark to the 11:47 juncture.
However, Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) came off the bench to give the Blue and Gold a spark as the sophomore guard scored five of the next eight points to cut the deficit to three, 20-17, with a little over nine minutes remaining before the half.
Unfortunately, ETSU couldn’t inch any closer as the Eagles nailed four of their eight first-half threes down the stretch to take the 18-point lead into the locker room.
Jacobson recorded five of her eight threes in the opening 20 minutes as FGCU was 8-for-19 from beyond the arc as a team in the opening 20 minutes. The Lady Bucs only managed to make three of their nine attempts and shot 24.2 percent (8-33) from the field in the first half.
Just like shades of the Stetson game on Thursday, the Lady Bucs came out with some energy in the opening minutes of the second half, as ETSU cut the 18-point deficit to 12 on multiple occasions; however, the Eagles responded with a bang.
With FGCU leading 43-31 at the 17:41 mark, the Eagles quickly pushed their lead up to 20 during the next two minutes, twenty-two seconds when a pair of free throws by Sarah Whitfield made it a 52-32 contest.
The Lady Bucs were only able to get back to within 16 points from the point forward and FGCU cruised to the 28-point victory.
For the game, ETSU shot 31.3 percent (25-80) and finished 5-for-16 from beyond the arc. On the flip side, the Eagles shot 43.1 percent (28-65) and attempted 37 three-pointers. In the end, FGCU assisted on all but five of their made field goals.
The Lady Bucs out-rebounded the Eagles by five, 52 to 47, while only turning the ball over a season-low nine times.
The fourth stop on this season-long five-game road swing sends the Lady Bucs to Missouri Valley Conference foe, Missouri State, on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Tip is set for 8:05 p.m. (Eastern).
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.