LAKELAND, FL - Camille Giardina poured in 31 points as Florida Southern College women's basketball raced past Tampa, 69-53, to pick up its 15th win in a row on Wednesday night at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (22-3, 17-2 SSC) closed out their regular-season home slate with an easy win over the Spartans (17-9, 10-9) in Sunshine State Conference action a week ahead of the SSC Tournament quarterfinals.
Anja Fuchs-Robetin added 16 points, while Mercedez Claybrone tallied 12. Jensen Blassage scored eight on Senior Night in her final regular-season home game. Florida Southern will close out the regular season at Embry-Riddle on Saturday.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Tampa would strike first with a three-pointer at the 8:50 mark of the first quarter, but the lead was short-lived as the Moccasins quickly rallied to take a 9-7 lead on Giardina's jumper at the 5:53 mark and never lost the lead. The bucket was part of a 7-0 run that helped the Mocs turn a 7-5 deficit into a 12-7 lead and seize all the momentum. The Spartans were able to slice FSC's lead to 16-15 with just over a minute to go in the first, but Giardina connected from long range in the closing seconds to make it 19-15 after the first period of play.
• The second quarter proved to be the big difference in the game as the Moccasins outscored Tampa 16-9 to take total control. Florida Southern's lead stayed in single digits for nearly the entire period, but Fuchs-Robetin's bucket with one second remaining gave the Mocs their first double-digit lead (35-24) as the teams headed to the locker rooms at the half.
• Florida Southern never led by less than 10 points the rest of the way and led by as many as 24 points (65-41) late in the fourth quarter. The Mocs shot a blistering 54.0 percent (27-of-50) from the floor while holding Tampa to 43.5 percent (20-of-46). Florida Southern went 7-of-15 from long range and was 8-of-9 at the charity stripe, while the Spartans hit just 5-of-15 three-pointers and 8-of-13 free-throw attempts. The Moccasins finished with a 27-25 edge in rebounds, as Claybrone and Fuchs-Robetin tied with a team-high eight. Giardina finished 10-of-16 from the floor, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 62-35 all-time against Tampa, including 29-15 when facing the Spartans at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins' current win streak is the best since 1994-95 when the team won 26-straight games.
• Blassage made her 90th career start on Wednesday in her 111th career appearance. With 1,267 career points, Blassage currently ranks 12th in school history in scoring. Giardina improved her career scoring total to 1,182 to move into 14th in program history in scoring and needs just three more to move into 13th place. Fuchs-Robetin increased her career scoring total to 967 and needs 33 more to become the 23rd player in school history, and the third this season, to score 1,000 points.
• In addition to Blassage, team manager and fellow senior Jayla Anderson was honored following the game. Anderson has been with the team for two seasons and has been an essential part of the support staff for the Moccasins.
• Florida Southern outscored Tampa 19-3 in points off turnovers and 22-20 in points in the paint. Earlier in the afternoon, the Moccasins moved up one spot in the latest NCAA South Region rankings, taking over the No. 2 spot.
• Florida Southern closes out the season at Embry-Riddle on Saturday at 4 p.m. before hosting a quarterfinal game in next week's SSC Tournament. The Moccasins will find out their exact opponent and time of the matchup on Saturday night. Florida Southern will also host the SSC semifinals (March 3) and championship (March 4) at Jenkins Field House.