Jacksonville head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said the night before Sunday afternoon's Atlantic Sun title game, she showed her team the footage of James Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson in a huge upset in 1990, drawing the parallels between JU and FGCU.
Heading into the game, Florida Gulf Coast had won 21 games in a row and defeated its first two Atlantic Sun tournament opponents by an average of 22 points. The last time out against Jacksonville, however, the Eagles faced a large deficit before eventually pulling out a five point victory. So while the Dolphins certainly weren't a 42-1 underdog like James Douglas, the Eagles always have a cross on their back in the Atlantic Sun.
The Dolphins dealt the knockout punch with three seconds left as Brandi Buie nailed a baseline jumper to put her team ahead 56-54. That was after the Eagles and Dolphins exchanged blows 40 minutes in a very physical battle.
The two tenacious defenses led to foul trouble for both sides. Brandi Buie, Sherranda Reddick, and Briona Brown all ended with four fouls with Kaneisha Atwater was forced to sit down towards the end of the game with five fouls. The 5-foot-7 senior guard finished with 22 points as she was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Tournament Team, alongside teammate Whitney Knight.
After failing to secure the Atlantic Sun's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, Florida Gulf Coast will now hold its breath for an at-large bid to March Madness. The 28-5 Eagles certainly have a strong case, challenging themselves in the non-conference slate and dominating the Atlantic Sun.
The NCAA Tournament Women's Selection Show will air live on ESPN at 7 pm E.T. on Monday, March 14.