North Alabama Clinches ASUN Championship Berth; Lipscomb Wins First Conference Game

 

ATLANTA, Ga. - Saturday was a big day for ASUN Conference Women's Basketball as two contests went down to the final possession and two home sides grabbed blow out victories. North Alabama became the second team to clinch a spot in the conference tournament this season while Kennesaw State and Lipscomb each broke long losing streaks to improve their odds of advancing to the postseason.

ASUN Women's Basketball Results - Saturday, Feb. 9th
FGCU 65, Liberty 64
Kennesaw State 70, NJIT 47
Lipscomb 61, Jacksonville 58
North Alabama 77, North Florida 62

FGCU survived on the road at Liberty as the Flames fell short of completing the upset in a one-point decision. A mismatch on paper due to Liberty's size, the Flames started out with a 17-12 in the first quarter before FGCU found a bit of rhythm to take a 29-26 lead into halftime. In the second half, FGCU's defense turned up the heat and allowed the team to take a lead by as many as nine points. In the second half alone, FGCU forced 15 turnovers by Liberty and converted those into 15 points for the deciding factor in the contest. While it looked like the Eagles were pulling away, Liberty made a run to begin the fourth and brought the deficit to within one point after a Kierra Johnson-Graham steal led to an and-one conversion to make the score 63-62. After another minute without a basket, Bridgette Rettstatt gave the Flames a one-point lead with 43 seconds to go, only to be topped by a layup from Kerstie Phills to make it 65-64. The Flames held the ball for the final 30 seconds, eventually turning it over one final time on an inbound with a little over two seconds to go to secure the victory for FGCU. Lisa Zderadicka had one of the best games of her Eagles career with 15 points to pass 1,000 in her career and an ASUN single-game high this season with eight steals. Liberty was led by Emily Lytle in the contest as she scored 20 points.

Kennesaw State broke a six-game losing streak and moved past NJIT for seventh in the league standings with a 70-47 win at home vs. the Highlanders. The Owls started out strong, taking a commanding 19-6 lead after the first quarter thanks to a shot by Kamiyah Street before the quarter ended. The second quarter saw the NJIT offense come to life but KSU continued to score, taking a 36-20 lead into the locker rooms behind a game-high 11 points from Street and a pair of three-pointers from Bree Hoover. The Highlanders opened the second half with a 7-0 lead which looked to make the game a tight contest for the remainder but Bree Hoover hit a three to ignite the fire for the Owls once again. The offense was clicking on all cylinders for KSU with five players getting into double figures including 10 off the bench from Lexi Mann. Kamiyah Street led with a game-high 19 while Alexis Poole recorded her 10th double-double of the season. NJIT was led by Tatianna Torres who had 15 points while Danielle Tunstall scored 13 as well.

North Alabama clinched a spot in the ASUN Championship with a 15-point victory at home vs. North Florida. The Lions took control from the get-go, getting out to a big lead in the opening minutes. The defense for the Lions was the calling card of the day, limiting UNF to just 27 points in the first half as the Lions opened up a 10-point lead. The second half continue much like the first with Ivy Wallen performing as the fuel for the Lions' fire. The junior guard had her third 30-point game of the season with 31 in the contest to go with 10 assists. She scored 20 of her 31 in the second half, keeping the Ospreys at bay as UNF tried to chip away in the final frame before falling on the road. Elsewhere, Savannah Stults had 13 points after hitting a trio of threes in the second half. North Florida was led by Jazz Bond who returned after missing one game with another double-double, tallying 23 points and 12 rebounds with six on the offensive side.

Lipscomb survived a late comeback bid from Jacksonville to secure its first conference victory of the season. Breaking a 19-game losing streak that was tied for the longest in Division I, the Bisons built a 17-point lead at the half behind hot shooting from beyond the arc including three from Carleigh Short. Freshman Kailey Rosenbaum had 14 points in the first half as well to keep the Bisons in front for all 20 minutes. The second half turned in the favor of Jacksonville as the Dolphins found an offensive rhythm, continuing to chip away at the deficit until it finally became a three-point game in the fourth quarter. But the Bisons were able to hold on this time, hitting free throws and getting clutch baskets at the end while stiffening on the defensive side of the ball. Short led the way with a game-high and career-high 22 points while hitting four three-pointers. For Jacksonville, Jasmyn Brown led the way for the eighth time in the last nine contests with 16 points while Trudy Walker had a double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds.

ASUN Conference Women's Basketball Standings
Team ASUN Record Overall Record
FGCU* 10-0 19-4
North Alabama 8-2 17-3
Stetson 7-2 12-11
Liberty 5-5 9-14
Jacksonville 5-6 12-12
North Florida 4-6 9-12
Kennesaw State 2-7 6-16
NJIT 2-7 5-17
Lipscomb 1-9 3-20

*Clinched spot in 2019 ASUN Women's Basketball Championship 

ASUN Women's Basketball Upcoming Schedule - Tuesday, Feb. 12th
Stetson vs. Jacksonville, 7 PM (ESPN+)
FGCU vs. NJIT, 7 PM (ESPN+)
Liberty vs. Lipscomb, 7 PM CT (ESPN+)
North Florida vs. Kennesaw State, 7 PM CT (ESPN+)