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Osprey women use Ki three to upset Hatters

Photo Credit: Travis Gibson
Ki Conner dives past a Stetson defender.

With the daunting task of taking on the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the conference, the UNF women’s basketball team started its stretch with an 56-52 upset victory over the second seed Stetson University Saturday night.

With 3:15 left in the game and the Ospreys down by two, UNF’s Raneisha Lamar hit an easy layup to tie the score at 48.

When Stetson attempted to inbound, UNF point guard Fabiola Josil put pressure on the ball and was able to nab a steal. Josil circled to the elbow and swung a pass to a wide-open Ki Conner. With ice in her blood, Conner hit the go-ahead three.

Stetson (15-6, 8-2 A-sun) made a run at the lead, but free throws, including the final two from sophomore guard Destinee Smith, put the game away and handed the victory to UNF (10-11, 6-4 A-sun).

“When my feet set I feel good shooting the ball, and there, my feet were set,” Conner said. “I had momentum and it felt good coming out. I’ve found a rhythm.” Conner finished the game with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assist.

After continuously preaching defense to her squad, UNF head coach Mary Tappmeyer saw the results in the second half, embodied in the Josil steal.

“That was a big steal. When we do the little things, grab rebounds and play defense, we can play with any team,” Tappmeyer said. “We really stepped up on defense in the second half. We had six consecutive stops.”

After allowing Stetson to shoot 40 percent in the first half, UNF managed to hold the Hatters to 33.3 percent from the field in the second.

“(UNF) was able to get more stops. They just got more stops then we did,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said.

Not only did the Ospreys defense show up, its inside presence showed in the second half in the form of Lamar.

Photo Credit: Travis Gibson
Stetson attempted to front Raneisha Lamar (34) in the post, but had little success.

“We (Stetson) did a terrible job at guarding Raneisha. I feel like we just didn’t guard her,” Bria said.

Lamar ended the game with a double-double — 19 points and 11 rebounds.

After the first half the teams were tied with 6 points in the paint each. When the game was said and done, UNF outscored Stetson 24-14 down low. The team found Lamar early and often in the second half and she dominated the Hatters, going 8 for 10 from the field.

“My teammates just found me during transitions,” Lamar said. “We were moving the ball in and out really well tonight.”

In the first game of the season against Stetson, UNF was blown out, 71-51.

“Mary had them ready to go tonight, I have to give her credit,” Bria said. “(UNF) plays better here. No matter what team it is they play better here.”

UNF holds a comfortable two game lead in the fourth spot over USC Upstate in the Atlantic Sun conference standings. UNF will have to continue its strong defensive play if they want to beat first-place FGCU on Monday.

FGCU not only leads the conference in points scored per game, but also in opponents points per game. The team has a plus-14.7 scoring margin for the season.

UNF is the only team in conference to hold FGCU to under 60 points this season.

The Ospreys will look to pull off back-to-back upset wins in the A-Sun when they host FGCU Feb. 4 at 7pm.

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