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Lady Ospreys pick up first win of season against FIU

Riley Platt, Sports Writer

Featured Image: Justin Nedrow

Basketball returned to campus for the first time since March as the Lady Ospreys hosted the Panthers of Florida International University (FIU). Just like the men’s team, the Lady Ospreys also started the season losing their first three games. Among these losses were against top-tier ACC programs such as a top ten NC State team and Miami. This team needed a win, and the home opener posed a great opportunity to achieve this. 

Thursday’s match served as FIU’s season opener, a team that is coming off of a rough 6-23 campaign last season. While three straight losses weren’t ideal for the Lady Ospreys, the team showed significant improvement in a close loss to Florida Atlantic on Monday.

The Lady Ospreys finally picked up a win this season after starting 0-3. Photo: Justin Nedrow

UNF wasted no time getting started offensively, with two quick three pointers from guards Marissa Mackins and Rhetta Moore. Turnovers proved costly, with UNF coughing up the ball four times in just the first four minutes alone. This was largely due to the full-court press that FIU implemented. Along with this, the Panthers were able to take advantage of weak transition defense by UNF, taking their first lead of the game six minutes into the first quarter. Ball security continued to plague the Lady Ospreys, but were able to take a 23-20 lead going into the second quarter.

What was looking like an offensive shootout suddenly turned cold at the beginning of the second quarter. Eventually, things would get rolling with contributions from forwards Jazz Bond and Elise Harden. Marissa Mackins continued to shine from beyond the arc, hitting her fourth three pointer of the first half. It was a tight game in the first two quarters, as UNF held a 38-37 lead going into the half.

During the game Jazz Bond set the UNF career block record with 2 in this game and 148 in her time at UNF Photo: Justin Nedrow

The Lady Ospreys came out of the locker room swinging, jumping out to a 45-37 lead. Through the efforts of tough defense, UNF was able to expand the lead to 12 points. FIU hung around, keeping the deficit around 10 points for the majority of the third quarter. Towards the end of the quarter, UNF’s Jazz Bond hit a three, giving the Lady Ospreys a 59-51 advantage going into the final quarter.

FIU didn’t let UNF run away with it, cutting the lead down to just four at one point. UNF would go on a run, however, extending the lead back to eight. The Panthers hit shots when they needed to, but the Lady Ospreys were always right there with a response of their own. FIU was never able to close the gap, as UNF went on to win 84-66.

Three Lady Ospreys (Jazz Bond, Marrissa Mackins, and Rhetta Moore) combined for a total of 64 points. When asked about this, head coach Darrick Gibbs knows that the team has the ability to score effectively like they did tonight.

“We’re gonna have to have those kinds of nights from those three consistently,” Coach Gibbs said in his press conference. “They’ve proven that they can get that done for us.” 

Mackins, who scored 23 points along with 8 assists, had a great bounce back game after shooting just 2-9 from the field against Florida Atlantic. The junior commented on her performance and what the coaches wanted her to do.

“Everyone, including the coaches were telling me just to let it go” Mackins said. “[and] shooters shoot.” 

Mackins finished the game with 23 point and 8 assists while shooting over .500 from the field and 4-6 on deep attempts. Photo: Justin Nedrow

This clearly worked for Mackins as she led the team in scoring and assists.

While UNF came away with the win, they will certainly need to clean things up. It will be hard to continually win games while committing 25 turnovers. Don’t let the record fool you, though, the Lady Ospreys are a legitimate contender to win the A-Sun title this season. 

The Lady Ospreys will not be in action again until Dec. 10, when they take on Edward Waters College at UNF Arena. In regard to this long break, Gibbs told us that the team will take a few days to focus on exams prior to zeroing in on their next opponent. This matchup will take place next Sunday, Dec. 13, at 2 PM ET and can be streamed via ESPN+.

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Lady Ospreys pick up first win of season against FIU