Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

JU stuns FGCU for Atlantic Sun crown

FORT MYERS — Brandi Buie sent Jacksonville to the NCAA Tournament and handed Florida Gulf Coast a stunning loss.

Buie's baseline jumper with 3.1 seconds left gave Jacksonville its only lead of the second half, and the Dolphins upset FGCU 56-54 on Sunday afternoon to win the Atlantic Sun Conference title and league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Buie scored 16 for the Dolphins (22-10), who trailed by 13 midway through the third quarter. Sherranda Reddick had 11 points and Jasmyn Brown 10 for Jacksonville, which had lost its past 18 meetings with FGCU.

"We knew we had to come to play," Brown said. "We knew this wasn't going to be an easy game. We played great defense, we knew we could do it and we never gave up on it."

Kaneisha Atwater scored 22 for FGCU (28-5), which had its 21-game winning streak snapped. The Eagles lost to an A-Sun opponent at home for the first time in 72 games.

Whitney Knight scored 17 for FGCU, missing a baseline jumper that could have tied it on the game's final shot. The Eagles, as the A-Sun regular-season champions, are assured a berth in the WNIT — but are hoping for an at-large selection.

"I definitely feel, since the time we got Whit back, we've been one of the top 25 or 30 teams in the country," said FGCU coach Karl Smesko, whose Eagles won an NCAA Tournament game last season and were without Knight because of injury at the start of this season. "That's something that's supposed to factor in."

Big South: Chatori Major had 21 points and assisted Bronaza Fitzgerald on the winner as host UNC Asheville (26-6) beat Liberty 64-62 in double overtime for its second NCAA Tournament berth.

HORIZON: Tesha Buck scored 14 and defending champion Green Bay (28-4) coasted to a 64-32 win over Milwaukee for its 14th tournament title and 16th NCAA Tournament appearance.

NORTHEAST: Ashley Ravelli scored 14 to help Robert Morris (20-12) hold off Sacred Heart 56-51 in Fairfield, Conn., and reach the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.

MVC: Tyonna Snow had 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, and Missouri State (24-9) won its 10th Missouri Valley Conference tournament in 15 trips with a 71-58 victory over Northern Iowa in Moline, Ill.

SOUTHLAND: Brianna Mullins scored 17 and Central Arkansas (28-3) earned its first NCAA Tournament berth with a 69-62 victory over Sam Houston State in Katy, Texas.

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