The women’s basketball team lost to conference-leading Florida Gulf Coast 78-57 on Saturday, Jan. 20, despite a career-high point total from freshman Breanna Hoover and solid performances from Kamiyah Street and Carlotta Gianolla.
Hoover came off the bench to score a career-high 15 points for the Owls, who dropped their fourth straight game to a well-performing Eagles team.
Street, the two-time defending conference Freshman of the Week, played the full 40 minutes and provided 14 points. Gianolla, who has featured for her home country Italy’s U-20 national team, added 15 points to the mix.
Only 13 points were scored by the Owls outside of those three players, and that lack of support cost them more and more as the game went along. The trio also led the way in assists and rebounds.
Once again, turnovers became the nemesis of the Owls, who lost the ball 24 times in the game.
It was the Eagles’ ability to spread the ball out that allowed them to get ahead early on with more of their players having a scoring presence than the Owls. Just five minutes into the game, the Eagles were up by 10 points, and they did not look back.
Although their lead fluctuated at certain points, the general trend of consistent offense and forcing turnovers allowed FGCU to run away with the game.
Despite the tough loss, the Owls had some positives to draw from facing the 18-3 Eagles. The Owls’ defense held the Eagles to just 39 percent shooting for the night, including 26 percent from three-point range.
The Owls held the Eagles 10 points under their scoring average in conference play. Street continued to be a source of inspiration for the Owls, tallying her second double-double of the season by scooping up 10 rebounds.
“We wanted to contain them from the three-point line. We held them below their average in all of those offensive categories and that was a positive for us,” said head coach Agnus Berenato. “We’re struggling in turnovers, and they are our nemesis right now, and that’s because we are playing mostly freshmen.”
Berenato and the Owls still seek their first conference win of the season in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but the potential of the squad is seen in the important contributions from some of the youngest players.
Next up for the Owls is a trip to Spartanburg, South Carolina, to play USC Upstate on Saturday, Jan. 27.
The Owls may see the struggling Spartans as a team that they can take advantage of to win their first game in conference play. As the core of the team has been well-established this season, it will be up to the players coming off the bench to step up and help the Owls get future wins.
The game at USC Upstate will be a 4:30 p.m. tip and will be available to watch on ESPN3.