LAKELAND, Fla. – Junior forward Julia Jenike scored a career-high 32 points as the Florida Southern College women's basketball team defeated visiting Nova Southeastern in dramatic fashion, 76-69 in overtime, on Saturday night in Sunshine State Conference action. Sophomore Ashley Shell added 13 points and ten rebounds in the winning effort.
With the score tied in overtime, Jenike connected on back-to-back three pointers to put the game away for good. The Moccasins (8-6, 5-1 SSC) have now won two straight games, and three of their last four. NSU (6-6, 2-3 SSC) has now dropped two consecutive overtime games.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• 1st Quarter | The Mocs led from the opening possession, when sophomore guard Mackenzie Steele fed Shell for a layup just 42 seconds into the game. Southern would play from in front for most of the quarter. The lead was as many as five at 15-10, when Jenike registered two of her 11 first quarter points on a layup with 3:52 to play. A Shark 7-0 run would put the visitors up by two (17-15), before freshman Aubrey Burke made a three-pointer to end the quarter with the Mocs ahead, 18-15.
• 2nd Quarter | The Mocs defense responded in the second quarter, holding the Sharks to just three makes, while forcing six turnovers. Offensively, Southern used a 7-0 run over the last 2:37 of the half to take a 29-25 lead at the break. Steele was responsible for five points during that stretch.
• 3rd Quarter | Florida Southern would push the lead to as many as six, 35-29, when senior Katerina Pazzaglia-Khomenko grabbed a defensive rebound, ran the floor, and was rewarded with a layup at the 8:14 mark. The Sharks would rally, and trim the lead back to just one point, 37-36, forcing a FSC timeout at 6:35. Just the way that Coach Betsy Harris drew it up, Steele made a layup on a pass from Jenike on the ensuing possession, and the lead was back to three points. Play would remain tight throughout, with several ties. NSU would make a layup with just over a minute remaining in the frame to take a one point lead, 47-46, into the fourth quarter. Shell exploded in the third quarter, with six points and five rebounds in eight minutes played.
• 4th Quarter | The Mocs would struggle to score the basketball early in the final scheduled stanza, and trailed by four, 52-48, with 7:31 remaining in regulation. Sparked by a Steele layup, the Mocs ran off 11 unanswered points to take a 59-52 lead with 3:31 showing on the scoreboard. With just under one minute remaining, the Sharks had clawed back and tied the game at 59 on a layup. Sophomore guard Bekki Kalaydjiev recorded a traditional three-point-play, nailing a jumper and free throw with 30 seconds remaining, and put the Mocs back up by three. NSU responded with a three of their own to end regulation tied at 62, setting up bonus basketball.
• Overtime | The game remained nip and tuck, with NSU leading by one, at 68-67, with 2:08 remaining. From there, it was all Florida Southern. Shell made a free throw to tie the game. Jenike made a three. Then another three. And a free throw. After a Shark free throw with six seconds remaining, Jenike made her eighth straight point of the overtime session for Southern, for the final score of 76-69. On the Sharks final possession, a final shot attempt was blocked by Shell, preserving the victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• The Moccasins finished with a 46-37 advantage in rebounds. Shell led the Mocs with ten, while Pazzaglia-Khomenko grabbed eight.
• Southern forced 17 NSU turnovers on the night, leading directly to 11 points. Kalaydjiev and Burke had two steals apiece.
• Shell recorded her third double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Such earlier performances came against Saint Leo on Dec. 4 (12 pts/12 rbds), and in the Mocs most recent game, at Florida Tech on Jan. 2 (16 pts/11 rbds).
•Jenike scored 32 points on the evening. The last time a Moc scored at least 30 was Camile Giardina, who went for exactly 30 against Tampa on March 16, 2019.
• Jenike scored at least 20 points for the fourth time this season. Each of those performances have come in the last six games.
• Moccasin head coach Betsy Harris picked up the 191st win of her illustrious career. She is now 123-45 in six seasons at Florida Southern and was 68-27 in three seasons at Coastal Georgia. Harris is 9 wins shy of hitting 200 for her career, and is third all-time in coaching wins at Florida Southern, trailing only Norm Benn (250) and Diane Foli (170).
• Florida Southern will open a two-game road swing beginning on Wednesday, January 8, at Rollins at 5:30 p.m., followed by a trip to Eckerd on the following Wednesday, January 15.