By Jonathan Pressley and Alex Mantz
On sophomore afternoon, Feb. 23, the Florida SouthWestern women’s basketball team wrapped up their season as the Sun Coast Conference champions after defeating Eastern Florida 85-63. The Buccaneers finished their regular season 29-2.
This year’s women’s basketball team finished with the highest ranking in school history: ninth in the nation.
Last year’s 26-6 squad advanced to the state tournament semifinals where they lost to the tournament winner, Gulf Coast State College.
In her last home game, sophomore Tina Stephens continued her success against Eastern by scoring 25 points. Last time these two teams played, Tina Stephens scored 35 points in a 92-86 win to help the Bucs stay undefeated in conference play.
This time around, it remained close through the first half. FSW eventually pushed the lead to 12 at the close of the half at 43-31.
Even though it was a tightly contested to begin the game, FSW pulled away by controlling the glass as they grabbed 59 rebounds to Eastern’s 36.
Freshman guard Za’Nautica Downs, who Coach Ward says is FSW’s “spark-plug” had 11 of her 13 points in the second half, while also contributing on the defensive side with four steals. Tina Stephens scored 13 of her 25 in the second half and also contributed with six steals of her own.
FSW will play a familiar foe in Broward College, March 6, in the quarterfinals. FSW has played Broward three times this season, winning two of three, their loss coming to start the season 75-73.