LAKELAND, FL - A slow start and a hot-shooting opponent proved too much to overcome as Florida Southern College women's basketball fell to Nova Southeastern, 84-63, in the championship round of the NCAA Division II South Regional on Monday night at Streamline Sale Arena at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (30-4) fell behind by double digits in the opening seven minutes of play, and the Sharks (21-11) kept their foot on the gas all night en route to their third Elite Eight in the past six years.
Nova Southeastern shot 47.6 percent from beyond the arc and limited the Mocs to just 34.3 percent from the floor, and Alison Hughes paced the Sharks with 30 points in a game that NSU led from start to finish. Florida Southern ends its season with a school-record 30 wins after winning both the Sunshine State Conference regular-season and tournament titles, while making its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- 1st Quarter | The tone for the night was set early as NSU held Florida Southern without a point for almost five minutes to open the game. The Moccasins fell behind 5-0 and did not score until Camille Giardina's jumper at the 5:22 mark of the first quarter. Two minutes later the Sharks would take their first 10-point lead (12-2) on Maria Bardeeva's bucket with 3:32 to go, and Nova Southeastern led 19-7 at the end of the first.
- 2nd Quarter | NSU's momentum carried over into the second half as it continued its dominance on defense. The Sharks limited the Mocs to just nine points over the first five minutes of the quarter to build a 33-16 lead and never led by less than 15 the rest of the way to take a 43-26 lead into the locker room at the half. Nova Southeastern shot 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the floor in the first half, including 6-of-10 from long range.
- 3rd Quarter | The Mocs were able to tighten up somewhat on defense in the third as they outscored Nova Southeastern 20-18 and held the Sharks to just 9-of-24 shooting, but four of NSU's nine buckets came from three-point range and the Mocs were only able to close the gap to 15 (61-46) at the end of the third.
- 4th Quarter | Florida Southern came on in early in the fourth quarter as it hit several shots early and clamped down defensively to outscore the Sharks 13-9 over the first five minutes to slice the deficit to 11 (70-59), but the late push would not be enough as Nova Southeastern cruised down the stretch to earn a spot in the Elite Eight.
- Anja Fuchs-Robetin led the Mocs with 29 points, 18 of which came in the second half, while grabbing eight rebounds. Giardina had 20 points, but no one else from Florida Southern had more than five. Nova Southeastern came away with a 44-30 advantage in rebounds.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 22-20 all-time against Nova Southeastern. Monday marked the first time that the Mocs and Sharks have squared off in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Moccasins are now 12-14 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, with a 2-2 record in the regional title game.
- Southern's 30 wins this season set a new school record, previously held by the 1994-95 squad (28 wins).
- Giardina finished her career with 1,939 points, fourth-most in school history. Her career scoring average of 15.4 points per game ranks seventh all-time.
- Fuchs-Robetin ends her career with 1,677 points, eighth most in program history. Her 13.3 points per game are good for 10th all-time.
- The Mocs finished as the Sunshine State Conference regular-season and tournament champions for the second year in a row. Florida Southern head coach Betsy Harris was the SSC Coach of the Year, while Giardina earned SSC Player of the Year and Fuchs-Robetin was a first-team all-SSC selection.