North Florida women’s basketball stuns the Hatters in an overtime thriller in ASUN Quarterfinals

DeAndre Pearson

photo courtesy of UNF Athletics

ESPN 3 announcer Evan Watson said it best “A dream starts in overtime”.  It was a night the women’s basketball team will remember forever.

Coming off of a major defeat to Jacksonville, sixth-seed North Florida (13-17 Overall, 6-9 ASUN) shocks the third-seed Stetson Hatters (17-14 Overall, 8-6 ASUN) on the road for a 63-55 victory to kick off their ASUN Tournament run. In a physical game, a battle-tested Ospreys led by their seniors, outrebounded Stetson and didn’t concede points in overtime.

In the opening period, North Florida’s seniors went to work early with the first six points coming from Tesh Hanson and Keonna Farmer. Stetson answered back following multiple turnovers from the Ospreys. For much of the period, UNF continued to hurt themselves as they turned over the ball. Stetson’s forwards saw early foul trouble and forced quick adjustments.  Stetson’s points in the paint helped them to a 13-10 lead in the first quarter.

Throughout the second quarter, the Ospreys did not go away despite the deficit. They battled back and turned the tables on Stetson following a scoring stretch from guard Ari Emmanuel-Wright, who scored seven points including converting a three-point play.  Stetson answered North Florida’s rally with baskets from their own to keep pace.  Despite heavily turning over the ball throughout the game, UNF battled back to tie the game 22-22 at halftime.

Coming out of halftime, both teams had put on an offensive display. Stetson player McKenna Beech knocked down back-to-back threes as Stetson tried to pull away from UNF. The Ospreys were able to answer back following hard fought points from Tiffany Tolbert and Farmer. Adrienne Jackson knocked down a go-ahead three to put the Ospreys over the Stetson. The Hatters answered back with free throws from Brittney Chambers to bring the game level at 37-37.

In the final period, neither team could score in the opening minutes. Both teams battled for the boards and struggled to get a rhythm going. UNF broke the stalemate following a jumper from Farmer. Farmer soon followed up with another jumper to put the Ospreys up by four. Stetson player Sydney Wagner scored five of her eight points, from the bench, to bring the deficit within two and Pruitt scored with 46 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Coming out of overtime, North Florida refused to give up the lead.  The Ospreys outscored the Hatters 16-9 during this period. Signature defensive plays sealed the win for the Ospreys such as Tolbert’s block on Pruitt and Farmer’s steal to hang onto the win.

Pruitt scored 13 points for the Hatters while leading one other player in double figures.

Farmer led the Ospreys with a double-double performance of 22 points and 11 rebounds. Hanson had a double-double performance of 11 points and 12 rebounds, Emmanuel-Wright also chipped in 11 points and five rebounds in the win.  

North Florida will advance to the ASUN semifinals and rematch Jacksonville (23-7 Overall, 12-2 ASUN) on the road Mar. 7 at 7 p.m. Winner advances to the ASUN Championship for a chance to claim the ASUN Title.  

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