FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Overcoming a rough first quarter, the Nova Southeastern women’s basketball team broke out in a big way to win their third consecutive game, all three at home and by double-digits, this time by an 84-71 margin over Embry-Riddle at the Rick Case Arena on Saturday afternoon in Sunshine State Conference action.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
FINAL: W, 84-71
RECORDS: Nova Southeastern Sharks (9-7, 5-4 SSC), Embry-Riddle Eagles (5-11, 3-7 SSC)
LOCATION: Rick Case Arena | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1ST QUARTER | It took over two and a half minutes for the Sharks to get on the board, committing turnovers on three straight early possessions, as the Eagles jumped out to a 5-0 lead. They finally did score their first points with a Janiffer Rodriguez free throw, then their first field goal just seconds later from a Jordan Tully layup off the offensive rebound. Turnovers continued to plague the team, with three more before their next field goal inside the 5:00 mark, and the Eagles took a 10-point lead (15-5) just before the clock hit three minutes. The Sharks scored a quick five points, but the Eagles got them right back, and Sarah Kelly ended the frame with a layup to cut the deficit back to eight, at 20-12.
2ND QUARTER | The Sharks got another five points in the first minute with a Hailey Conley and another layup by Tully. Then, thanks to three straight Embry-Riddle turnovers, the Sharks were able to get within one on a Maria Bardeeva layup. The Eagles responded with three consecutive layups, however, to put the Sharks in a seven-point hole, 26-19. The Sharks turned a corner from there, though, as the defense stepped up to force 11 out of 12 empty possessions, including three turnovers and nine straight missed field goals — four layups, four jumpers and one 3-pointer. Meanwhile, the offense ended the half by making eight of their last 13 attempts, with a 19-2 run in a six-minute span. The Sharks finally took their first lead on another Tully layup just before the halfway point, a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. A steal and Fastbreak layup for Conley put them up by 10 (38-28) for the first time, before the Eagles hit a 3-pointer and free throw before the break.
3RD QUARTER | A pair of three-point plays – first Conley from outside, then an old-fashioned by Tully – put the Sharks back up by 10, before the Eagles got within five, but that would be the closest margin for the rest of the game, as the Sharks exploded on another big streak, this time 11 in a row, and never saw their lead drop back into single digits, with the margin at a comfortable 15 points heading into the final period.
4TH QUARTER | A 10-2 run midway through the fourth gave them their largest lead of the game at 21 points (80-59), and a Bardeeva layup with 4:43 remaining meant they were just three points away from giving the loyal crowd free Blaze Pizza, but turnovers on seven consecutive possessions put that in danger, and despite a final late Tully layup, they dribbled out their final possession, and after late teases by the men’s squad in their last two games, the fans continue to be denied.
STATS OF THE NIGHT:
- Tully once again led the team in scoring, this time with 27 points, her seventh game this season with 20 or more and her fourth 25-point effort, as she continues to lead the SSC with 18.3 points per game. Her 10-of-16 performance from the field also maintains her standing atop the conference’s shooting leaders, at 59.8%. Tully added seven rebounds and a career-high three steals and made six of her seven attempts at the charity stripe.
- Conley, meanwhile, extended her 3-point lead, with five more in 11 attempts. She posted her third double-double of the year, all in the last three games, with 21 points and 10 boards, shooting 8-of-16 overall and contributing four assists and a career-high four steals of her own.
- Bardeeva had her best game of the season, with season-highs of 16 points and seven field goals out of nine tries, in addition to five rebounds.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- The Sharks’ 84 points represent a season-high, as does their 60.7% field goal percentage, and their best mark since they set the all-time record of 64.4% against Concordia on Dec. 18 of last season. It was also the first time they shot over 60% in conference play since Dec. 7, 2013, when they set the program’s single-game points record of 110 by shooting 64.5%.
- The Sharks shot 64.4% (29-45) from the field as a team from the second quarter on, and over 60% in each individual quarter, including 71.4% (10-14) in their 29-point third. They also outscored the Eagles 44-24 in the paint over that stretch.
- Overall, the Sharks dominated the middle two quarters to the tune of a 55-32 margin.
- With three straight double-digit wins, by an average margin of 17.7 points, the Sharks are now scoring more points than they’ve allowed for the first time all season, at 1141 (71.3 per game) to 1137 (71.1 per game).
- It’s their first three-game streak of double-digit wins since last January 12-30, when they won five consecutive SSC matchups by an average of 24.2 points, including the middle three in a row by at least 20, with the last two of that stretch against Palm Beach Atlantic and Embry-Riddle by 25 and 21, respectively.
The Sharks will hit the road for the first time in two weeks on Wednesday, making the short trip down to Miami Shores to face off with the Barry Buccaneers. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
SHARKS ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
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