LAKELAND, FL - Camille Giardina poured in 30 points to lead Florida Southern College women's basketball past Tampa, 76-65, in the semifinal round of the NCAA South Regional on Saturday at Streamline Sale Arena at Jenkins Field House. The No. 17 Moccasins (30-3) topped the Spartans (22-9) for the third time this season to advance to their first regional title game since 2016.
The Mocs will face Nova Southeastern on Monday at 7 p.m. at Jenkins Field House for a spot in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II Tournament. A victory on Monday would mark the second time in the last four years that Florida Southern as advanced to the Elite Eight.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- 1st Quarter | After falling behind by one (5-4) in the opening three minutes of play, Florida Southern took control by reeling off a 7-0 run to jump in front by six (11-5) on Julia Jenike's layup at the 5:56 mark. The Mocs led by as many as 11 (18-7) in the first quarter on their way to a 20-12 lead after one quarter of action. Giardina (9), Jenike (7) and Anja Fuchs-Robetin (4) scored all 20 points for Southern in the first period.
- 2nd Quarter | The second quarter saw Tampa's offense come to life as the Spartans shot 66.7 percent in the period and closed the gap to just one point (25-24) on Dori Nagy's jumper with 5:55 to go in the first half. A quick 6-0 run by the Mocs pushed the lead back to seven (31-24), but Tampa was able to trim the deficit to three (35-32) with 44 seconds to go before Giardina's jumper with 23 seconds on the clock fell to give the Moccasins a 37-32 lead at the half.
- 3rd Quarter | Tampa started off hot in the third quarter by outscoring Florida Southern 10-4 to take a one-point lead (42-41) on Kris Nelson's three at the 6:51 mark of the period. The Moccasins answered with seven-straight points, including a three from Elsa Landberg, to go back up by six (48-42) with 5:35 on the clock. The teams would battle back and forth over the next five minutes as the Spartans were able to slice the deficit to two (56-54) at the end of the third.
- 4th Quarter | After a three-pointer by Nelson cut FSC's lead to 58-57 in the opening minute of the fourth, Florida Southern clamped down on defense and went on a 14-0 run to take control and put the game out of reach (72-57) on Giardina's jumper with 3:56 to play. It would be all the momentum the Mocs would need as the cruised down the stretch to advance one step closer to the Elite Eight.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 12-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 2-4 record in the regional semifinal round.
- The Mocs outscored the Spartans 32-20 in the paint.
- Florida Southern once again set a school record for wins in a season with 30.
- Florida Southern will face Nova Southeastern at 7 p.m. on Monday for the South Regional title. The winner will advance to the Elite Eight in Columbus, OH next week, with the national quarterfinals kicking off on March 26.