ST. PETERSBURG, FL - A trio of double-digit scorers and a 26-point outburst in the second quarter helped propel Florida Southern College women's basketball to a 75-52 win over Johnson C. Smith on Saturday at the Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic. The Moccasins (6-1) trailed by four after the first quarter but held the Golden Bulls (1-5) to just 11 points in the second quarter en route to their fifth-straight victory.
The Mocs return to Eckerd on Nov. 29 to face the Tritons in a Sunshine State Conference contest. The Dec. 2 home game against Nova Southeastern will be moved due to the NCAA South Region volleyball tournament, which will be hosted by Florida Southern. A final makeup date and time have not yet been announced.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern scored first and led 4-2 after one minute of action, but a three-plus minute scoring drought by the Moccasins would give Johnson C. Smith a chance to regain the lead. The Golden Bulls led by as many as 10 points (14-4) before Camille Giardina ended the freeze with a layup at the 5:16 mark of the opening period. The Mocs got back in front after a three-pointer and a layup from Jirah Ards made it 15-14 in favor of FSC. The Bulls would score five-straight to end the quarter and take a 19-15 lead at the first break.
• The second quarter was when Florida Southern made its move, outscoring Johnson C. Smith 26-12. Giardina cut the deficit to one (19-18) with a three-pointer less than a minute into the second quarter, and Jensen Blassage gave the Mocs the lead for good with a layup at the 8:44 mark to make it 20-19. Florida Southern would never trail again as it outscored the Bulls 21-11 over the final eight-plus minutes of the half to take a 41-30 lead into the locker room.
• Florida Southern never led by less than double digits in the second half, outscoring Johnson C. Smith 34-22 over the final 20 minutes of action and limiting the Bulls to just nine points in the fourth quarter en route to the win. The Mocs shot 46.4 percent on the day and held the Bulls to just 34.7 percent while finishing with a 34-32 edge in rebounds. Giardina led the way with 21 points, while Blassage and Anaja Fuchs-Robetin each scored 13. Fuchs-Robetin and Jaddah Knight tied for the team lead with six rebounds, while Knight and Ards scored nine off the bench.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 1-0 all-time against Johnson C. Smith as Saturday's meeting was the first-ever between the two programs. The Mocs finished with a 30-16 advantage on points in the paint, outscored the Bulls 25-15 off turnovers, and had 16 second-chance buckets.
• Blassage improved her career scoring total to 1,033 and needs eight more to pass Kim Billeter (1986-90) for 19th in school history.
• Florida Southern heads back to St. Petersburg on Wednesday to face Eckerd at 5:30 p.m.