LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College women's basketball overcame a four-point, fourth-quarter deficit to top Tampa, 55-48, in its Sunshine State Conference opener on Wednesday night at Streamline Sale Arena at Jenkins Field House. The No. 21 Moccasins (5-1, 1-0 SSC) limited the Spartans (5-1, 0-1) to just six points in the second quarter to take a 26-19 halftime lead, but went cold in the third quarter before outscoring Tampa 19-10 over the final 10 minutes of action.
Camille Giardina led the Mocs with 22 points while Jirah Ards had 13 to lead Florida Southern to its fourth-straight win against the Spartans. The Moccasins return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 5 when they face Embry-Riddle at home.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- 1st Quarter | Florida Southern dominated the early part of the first half as it raced out to a 10-point lead (13-3) less than six minutes into the opening period, but Tampa was able to chip away and slice the deficit to two at the break. Giardina scored 10 points in the opening quarter en route to her first 20-point performance of the season.
- 2nd Quarter | The Mocs were able to seize momentum early in the second by mounting an 8-0 run to kick off the quarter and push their lead to 11 points (24-13) with 4:11 to play in the first half. The Spartans hit a three-pointer at the 3:39 mark to close the gap to single digits (24-16) and went into halftime trailing Southern by a score of 26-19.
- 3rd Quarter | Tampa was able to make a game out of it in the third quarter as it limited the Moccasins to just nine points. Florida Southern led 30-24 with 7:07 to go in the frame but was outscored 14-6 the rest of the way as Staja Tyghter hit a jumper in the closing seconds to give the Spartans a 38-36 lead at the end of three.
- 4th Quarter | Trailing by four (44-40) at the 7:34 mark of the final quarter the Mocs hit several key shots, including threes from Monet Burkett and Giardina, over the next minute and a half to jump back on top, 45-44. It would be all the momentum FSC would need as it increased its lead to as many as eight points in the closing minute to come away with a hard-fought win.
- Giardina shot 6-of-12 from the floor and connected on 9-of-10 at the charity stripe. Ards scored her 13 points on a 4-of-7 night, while Julia Jenike snagged a team-best 10 rebounds. Chesney Campbell added seven points off the bench.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 63-35 all-time against the Spartans, including a 30-15 mark at home. The Moccasins have won four in a row against the Spartans and seven of the last eight in the all-time series.
- Giardina continued to move up the all-time scoring list at Florida Southern by pushing her career point total to 1,386. She now ranks 10th in school history in career scoring. Anja Fuchs-Robetin increased her career point total to 1,133 to move closer to Antonia Newman (1,164) for 17th in the all-time record books.
- Moccasin head coach Betsy Harris picked up her 90th victory in four-plus seasons with Florida Southern. She is 90-36 as the head coach at FSC and has a career record of 158-63 in eight seasons as a collegiate head coach.
- Florida Southern will take on Embry-Riddle at 5:30 p.m at home on Dec. 5. The Mocs are in the midst of a stretch of five-straight home games including matchups with Bluefield State (Dec. 13), Saginaw Valley (Dec. 17), and Cedarville (Dec. 18). FSC closes out the calendar year at Nova Southeastern (Dec. 29).