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FORT MYERS, Fla. - For the fifth time in seven seasons the FGCU Eagles are headed back to the NCAA Tournament. The No. 1 seed Eagles took down No. 2 seed Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon in Alico Arena 68-58. The Eagles are now headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, and the fifth time in the last seven.
Sunday's contest was no different than most FGCU vs. JU battles from the last three seasons; tightly contested, physical and low-scoring. Through the first eight minutes of the game the top two squads in the ASUN combined for just nine points in the game's first 7:25, but the scoring quickly picked up as the Dolphins took an 11-10 lead into the second quarter. The second quarter played out much like the first, as the teams went back and forth, responding to each others punches. The Eagles took a narrow 30-28 lead into the locker room.
ASUN Championship MVP China Dow poured in 15 of 18 points in the first half, going 2-3 from three-point range. Erica Nelson also had seven points on 2-2 shooting in the opening half, to go along with four rebounds. Jacksonville was led in the first half by Shakayla Nevitt, who scored nine points on 4-7 from the field. ASUN leading rebounder and Defensive Player of the Year hauled in seven boards in the first half alone.
Jacksonville opened up the second half by jumping out to a 36-32 lead, highlighted by baskets by Gordon and Brandi Buie. The Dolphins would maintain a single-possession edge for half the quarter. All-Tournament team member, Lisa Zderadicka, drained a three with 3:36 to give FGCU a lead they would never relinquish. Zderadicka's three also sparked a 13-2 run to end the the quarter and give the Eagles a 49-41 advantage heading into the fourth.
Jacksonville hinted a fourth quarter comeback as Shalonda Neely and Nevitt opened up the quarter with a layup and a three to make it to make it 51-46. FGCU would have none of it though, as they responded with points from All-Tournament team member Rose Julien and Dow to see the Eagles lead baloon to 57-48. The Dolphins never got closer than eight. Julien delivered the dagger with 4:22 left, as she knocked down a three to make it an 11-point game.
The trio of Dow, Julien and Zderadicka led the way with 18, 19 and 17 points respectively, helping themselves land a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Teague finished with 13 points on 5-9 from the floor and nine rebounds, while Nevitt chipped in with 12 points of her own.
Make sure to tune into ESPN at 7 PM ET on Monday, March 12th to find out where and who the Eagles will take on in the NCAA Tournament. Jacksonville's season does not end here. They will compete in the WNIT. The WNIT field will be announced late on March 12th.
No. 1 FGCU vs. No. 2 Jacksonville ASUN Championship Final
- FGCU is headed back to the NCAA Tounament for the fifth time in the last seven seasons
- The win helped clinched a 30 win season for the third time in the last four seasons
- Jacksonville will move on to the WNIT for the second-straight season
- Kayla Gordon is JU's first 1,000 point scorer, 1,000 rebounder
- China Dow captures her second straight ASUN Championship MVP after averaging 17.3 PPG in the Championship
- The marks the seventh straight season FGCU has at least two players on the All-Tournament team