After hammering Jacksonville on the road last Saturday, the ladies of Raining Threes returned home to the friendly confines of Alico Arena to defend The Nest against the Spartan invaders from South Carolina. The crowd was atypical for FGCU, as was the start the Eagles got off to. The crowd was only a little over half capacity at the start of the game. During team introductions, senior Jenna Cobb entered when red-shirt freshman Taylor Gradinjan's name was called, and vice versa. It was an odd start to the game, and the actual game was still yet to begin.
Nonetheless, basketball was still played, and the lady Eagles did what they usually do: dismantle a team that is clearly inferior to them. Right off the bat it was a back and forth game. FGCU couldn't get into an offensive flow and knock down threes, and Upstate was hanging in tough. At the 12-minute mark of the first half, the Spartans found themselves only down 15-13. What followed was a patented FGCU run that we've seen so many times from the lady Eagles. FGCU ripped off a 12-2 run to extend the lead to 27-15, and closed out the half on a 28-11 run to put the Spartans down 17. Katie Meador sparked the Eagles with 10 points in the first half.
FGCU only outscored the Spartans by one in the second half, but that was largely in part to head coach Karl Smesko going deep into his bench around the 7-minute mark. Despite only hitting 6 of 19 three pointers, the lady Eagles still put up nearly 80 points. FGCU made a living in the paint, outscoring the Spartans in there by 24 points.
"This team wasn't gonna let us get a lot of good looks at three, so we had to get to the rim a little bit and finish," said coach Smesko.As has been the story for many games this year, FGCU found a different leader tonight, this time in Katie Meador. Meador didn't start, but provided a huge boost when her number was called off the bench. She checked in for the first time around the 14-minute mark of the first half, and her first score of the game started FGCU's 12-2 run. Later in the half she scored 9 points in a row for FGCU, capped off by a three-pointer that she was visually excited about.
"I was just feeling good. Today had been a long day, and to come out and play basketball, it just felt good," said Meador. "I'm not sure there is really a statistical correlation between stress and level of play, but hey, it worked tonight.
FGCU improved their record to 4-0 in conference play, and 17-2 overall. The lady Eagles are currently flying high on a 12 win streak, and extended their A-Sun home win streak to 58 with Thursday night's victory. Raining Threes is back in action at Alico Arena on Saturday night at 7 pm against Kennesaw State.