FORT MYERS, Fla. - FGCU became the second Atlantic Sun team in history to advance to the Semifinals of the WNIT as the Eagles defeated Hofstra 61-46. FGCU will now host Michigan on Thursday, March 31st at 8 p.m. live on ESPN3 at Alico Arena. The Eagles are now 32-5, which marks a new A-Sun record for most wins in a single season.
Kaneisha Atwater scored a team-high 19 points, while A-Sun Player of the Year Whitney Knight added 16 points and 14 rebounds. FGCU controlled the boards with a 52-35 advantage, including 18 offensive rebounds. The 52 rebounds are a new season-high for FGCU in a single game this season.
The Eagles got off to quick start in the opening quarter as they jumped to an 8-2 lead as Kaneisha Atwater and Jaime Gluesing scored back-to-back layups off Whitney Knight assists. FGCU controlled the boards throughout the opening 20 minutes to build a double digit lead. The lead as 15-9 after the first quarter, before FGCU scored 20 points in the second quarter.
Kaneisha Atwater had 13 of her 19 points in the first half, while Whitney Knight didn't shoot well, but contributed nine points and nine rebounds. FGCU held a 26-16 advantage on the boards as Katie Meador scored nine points and added six boards off the bench in the first half. Hofstra was led by senior Darius Faulk who had eight points, while King-Gilchrist added four points off the bench for the Pride. FGCU took a 35-20 lead into the halftime break.
The Pride came out of the locker room with a different intensity as they opened on a 10-3 run. Anjie White, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored six quick points to get the Hofstra offense rolling. The Pride controlled the boards 13-9 in the third quarter to help Hofstra cut the deficit do as low as five. The Eagles responded with the final bucket as Atwater scored on a layup to give FGCU a 47-40 lead heading into the fourth.
FGCU responded with a quick 5-0 spurt to start the final period as Atwater and Stephanie Haas scored layups to force a Hofstra timeout. After the Pride cut the deficit back down to nine, Atwater attacked the lane and got a layup to push the lead to 57-46. Whitney Knight then delivered the dagger as she connected on her fourth trifecta with under two minutes to go to give FGCU a double-digit lead back.
The Eagles will now host Michigan in the 2016 WNIT Semifinals this upcoming Thursday at 8 p.m. at Alico Arena. Fans can watch the game live on ESPN3.
FGCU vs. Hofstra WNIT Tournament Notes
- FGCU becomes the first A-Sun team since FIU in 1993 to advance to the semifinal round of the WNIT. Prior to this year's run, the Eagles had never advanced past the second round.
- The Eagles have now won 32 games this season, the most in the school's Division I history. They also broke their own A-Sun record for most wins in a single season they set themselves last year with 31.
- Whitney Knight continues to add to her A-Sun career blocks record. She had two blocks tonight and now sits on 321.
- Kaneisha Atwater scored 19 points tonight to push her FGCU career total to 1,269. That ranks her 49th in A-Sun history.
- DyTiesha Dunson added six assists to her season total today. She now has 180 for the season, the second A-Sun player to reach 180 or more.