Contributor Matt Schoch gives us his recap of the Island Division final of the Paradise Jam Tournament. And while Ohio State won the final 90-83, FGCU was crowned the tournament champions. Because of their stellar performances in their previous two outings, the Eagles were able to win it all because of point differential. FGCU junior guard Whitney Knight was named tournament MVP.
By MATT SCHOCH
Daily News Staff
ST. THOMAS – The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team was so good this weekend at the Paradise Jam tournament that even when the team lost, it still won.
Well, that might be an overstatement, but there’s some truth nonetheless – despite a 90-83 double-overtime loss Saturday to Ohio State, the Eagles still won the Island Division championship.
The OSU (4-3) win created a three-way tie atop the division with FGCU, Wichita State and the Buckeyes all at 2-1 on the weekend.
Florida Gulf Coast (4-2) won by point differential in games between the three, outscoring opponents by 10 points.
Now, the Eagles will join iconic programs such as Connecticut and Tennessee on the Paradise Jam women’s championship boards.
The game also featured a 12-minute power outage, ensuring that the teams got the full Virgin Islands experience.
It was sorted out, however, but could not diffuse FGCU’s hot 3-point shooting early on.
Smesko’s team was 11 of 23 on 3-pointers (48 percent) in the first half, building a double-digit lead in the first half and taking a 41-36 lead into the break.
Ohio State would take its first lead when Kelsey Mitchell hit a pair of free throws with 11:12 left in the second half to put her team up 53-52.
The teams would exchange the lead four times, until Ameryst Alston hit a 3-pointer and then two free throws in the final minute to send the game to overtime.
FGCU had chances to win in the first overtime, but was 2 for 8 from the free-throw line (25 percent), at one point missing six straight.
Compounding matters, it’s top player Whitney Knight fouled out with 17 points in the first extra session, but was still named Tournament MVP for her strong weekend.
The Buckeyes scored the first seven points of the second overtime and controlled the game’s final 5 minutes.
Alston and Mitchell shared game-high honors with 26 points. Alexa Hart added 20 points ad 18 rebounds for Ohio State.
Knight’s 17 points led six Eagles in double figures.
Wichita State 63, Clemson 48
The Shockers had four players score in double figures, as Alie Decker and Michaela Dapprich scored 14 points apiece.
Wichita State opened a 20-point lead in the first half and led throughout the game after taking the lead 58 seconds into the game.
Jamillah Bonner added 13 points and Kelsey Jacobs 10 for Wichita State (4-2), the favorites to win the Missouri Valley Conference.
Nikki Dixon had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Clemson (3-4), which was 2 for 12 (17 percent) from 3-point range.