LAKELAND, Fla. – Coming in as the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Div. II South Region Tournament, the Nova Southeastern women’s basketball team defied the odds, taking down the top-seeded Florida Southern Moccasins in the championship game, earning its fourth trip in the Elite Eight in program history. Led by Alison Hughes’ 30 points, the Sharks dismantled the Mocs, 84-63, on Monday evening in a Florida Southern fan-full George W. Jenkins Fieldhouse. With six threes on the night, Hughes now holds the new program single-season records for three-pointers in a season with 98.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
FINAL: W, 84-64
RECORDS: Nova Southeastern University Sharks (21-11), Florida Southern Moccasins (30-4)
LOCATION: George W. Jenkins Fieldhouse | Lakeland, Fla.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1ST QUARTER | It was like déjà vu from Saturday night’s game, as the Sharks offense took off early, grabbing the lead and never letting go. A 12-2 run, capped with a layup by Maria Bardeeva, forced Florida Southern to take their first timeout. A three-point play by FSC’s Julia Jenike at the 2:21 mark cut NSU’s lead to five points, 12-7, but that would be as close as they would get for the remainder of the game as a 7-0 run by the Sharks to close out the first quarter led to a 19-7 NSU lead.
2ND QUARTER | A layup by Jordan Tully gave the Sharks their largest lead of the game thus far, 21-7, before a 5-0 run by Florida Southern brought the deficit down to single digits for the final time at the 8:23 mark. The two teams exchanged buckets for the next five minutes before a three by Claire McMahon sparked a 8-0 run to give NSU its first 20+ point lead (41-20). A 6-2 Mocs run finished off the last 1:48 of the quarter, but the scoreboard still showed the Sharks up by a hefty margin, 43-26.
3RD QUARTER | A 7-2 Sharks run kicked off the second half, continuing to pressure, grabbing their largest lead of the game at the 5:03 mark with another three-pointer by Hughes, 57-33. The Mocs attempted to whittle away at NSU’s lead, outscoring the visitors on the scoreboard 13-4 over the remainder of the quarter, cutting the Sharks’ advantage to 15, 61-46, with one quarter to go.
4TH QUARTER | The Mocs controlled much of the final quarter, outscoring NSU 13-9 to bring them within 11 of Nova Southeastern’s lead, before a three-pointer by Hughes started a 12-2 run to finish out the game, allowing the Sharks to earn the championship title by an overwhelming 21-point lead, 84-63.
INSIDE THE STATS:
- Hughes’ 30 led all players, as she shot 6-of-11 from the field and 6-of-10 from deep. She was also a perfect 12-of-12 from the line, adding eight rebounds and two assists.
- McMahon was next with 13, connecting on 3-of-5 from deep, pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out a game-high five assists.
- The third player to score in double-digits was Maria Bardeeva, who recorded 12 points on 85.7 percent shooting (6-of-7) from the field. She also made two blocks.
- Mikayla Thompson recorded a game-high nine rebounds and added eight points, while Prasse pulled down seven boards, three offensive, and chipped in six points with four assists.
- As a team, the Sharks out-rebounded the Mocs 44-30, including 35 defensive board compared to their 19.
- From the line, the Sharks were 24-of-26 (92.3 percent), their best free-throw shooting percentage performance coming from 20+ attempts since Nov. 24, 2013 against Ferris State (22-of-23, 95.7 percent).
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
- Entering the game with 92 made threes, Hughes’ six tonight pushed her to 98 on the season, setting a new program record. The previous record was 95, set by Taylor Buie in 2013-14.
- Additionally, Hughes’ 12-of-12 from the line makes her the third player in NSU’s NCAA era history to go 12-of-12 or better from the charity stripe.
- This marks the fourth times the Sharks will head to the Elite Eight, as the Sharks went three consecutive years from 2013-15.
The Sharks will head to Columbus, Ohio next week to compete in the Elite Eight. NSU’s matchup will be announced on Monday.
SHARKS ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Follow along with live updates on Twitter by following @NSU_WBasketball.