Down by 14, Moccasins Rally for 78-69 Win Over Alabama-Huntsville
LAKELAND – Watching the first nine minutes or so of Monday night’s game against Alabama-Huntsville, head coach Jarrod Olson had to wonder what happened to the team that had started the season with seven wins in its first eight games and jumped to #20 in the national rankings. It turns out that team was right there all along. After falling behind 20-6 to start the game, Florida Southern restored order late in the first half and erupted for 49 points in the second to end the first semester with a 78-69 win over UAH.
The Moccasins (8-2) notched their comeback win behind 25 points from Michaela Hawley (including 19 in the second half), 13 points from Sofie Lundberg (10 in the second half), and 12 points and 11 rebounds from Morgan Lamberg. There was plenty of Danielle Walsh too, who had 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, while Megan Dzikas had six points, five boards and six assists. That group had the Mocs racing up and down the court, and by the time the final nine minutes arrived, it was the Chargers (8-2) who were doing the chasing.
Alabama-Huntsville jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first five minutes as Florida Southern missed its first seven shots and committed six turnovers. Lundberg’s 3-pointer gave the Mocs their first field goal, but the Chargers would push their lead to 20-6 with 11 minutes to play in the first half.
The Chargers still had a double digit lead (33-22) when the Moccasins out-scored them 7-0 in the final 4½ minutes of the first half. That got the Mocs within five at the break, but the Chargers used three 3-point field goals in the early stages of the second half to hold that lead, and turn it into a 49-40 advantage with 13 minutes to play. That’s when the Mocs really got going, out-scoring the Chargers 38-20 over the remainder of the game.
Florida Southern scored on four straight possessions to start that run, including a big put-back by Lamberg that made it a one-possession game, and a bucket by Hawley right after that cut the gap to one. With Dzikas running the offense, the Mocs would eventually tie the score at 52 on a fast-break basket by Melanie Ducott, and a layup by Lundberg on the next trip down the court gave Florida Southern its first lead of the game.
A 5-point possession aided by a technical foul allowed the Mocs to stretch their scoring run to 11-0, as Hawley converted both free throws and Lundberg drained a 3-pointer out of the left corner to make the score 59-52. The Florida Southern lead would eventually reach 10 (65-55), but the Chargers worked it down to five again with a little over two minutes to play. The Mocs would score their final 10 points at the free throw line, however, to put the game out of reach. Hawley made 5-of-6 in the final 40 seconds after Walsh sunk two with 46 seconds to play, giving the Mocs a commanding 8-point lead.
Florida Southern would shoot 54 percent from the floor in the second half after shooting just 33 percent in the first. The Mocs also held Alabama-Huntsville to 29 percent shooting in the second half, and 31 percent in the game.
Hawley was 6-for-10 from the floor and 13-for-15 from the line while also grabbing nine rebounds. Lundberg went 5-for-10 from the floor and 3-for-7 from long range, and pulled down eight rebounds.
Alabama-Huntsville got 20 points and six assists from Jordan Smith, 14 points from Bailee Robinson, and 13 points from Jasmine Hammon. Natalie Kelley had eight points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Chargers.
Florida Southern will be off for Christmas until December 29, when it hosts Grand Valley State at 2:00 p.m.