Tournament – Karma
Special to the Lehigh Acres Gazette
By: Dick Allen Special Correspondent
Photos By: James Schubert Pro Image Sports Photography
Webster defines KARMA as fate or destiny. Certainly the stars were lining up. Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana was a short drive for the over 150 family members, friends, and old school mates of the 5 mid-western born and raised Lady Eagles. Add another 350 or more fans who took 2 buses, a chartered plane, and who knows how many more planes and trains, blimps and cars to see their girls play. Add the band, cheerleaders, University administrators, and even the President of the University, and you have a huge sea of green and blue ready to raise the roof off the arena.
And who could question the basketball Gods themselves who delivered to the Eagles two of the most critical victories all year against their bitter rival the Stetson Hatters. The first, was a season ending overtime victory on Stetson’s home floor to clinch the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. Then eight days later, beating Stetson again in overtime to win the Conference Tournament paving the way for the Eagles second trip to the Big Dance. Both nail biting, overtime victories, but indeed, the Gods were smiling, the KARMA was flowing!
Then let’s not forget that today, gameday, is the anniversary of the start of last year’s historic run. The 15th seeded Men’s basketball team upset #2 seed Georgetown Hoya’s and two days later they upset # 7 seed San Diego State Aztecs putting the Eagles into the “sweet sixteen”. “DUNK CITY” was born and had captivated the imagination of the nation. Men, women, and children of all ages were clamoring for Eagle shirts, hats, and anything with “Dunk City” on it!. The Sweet 16, winning the ESPY awarded by ESPN as the biggest upset in sports, that single weekend changed the University and FGCU basketball forever. And NOW, feel the KARMA, it’s the women’s turn to dance!
All Cinderella needs to put on the magic glass slipper is a solid game plan from the coaching staff and a team effort matching the last two games against Stetson. In the pre-game press conference coach Smesko addressed both of these keys to victory.
He spoke of stopping Tiffany Bias, an all-American candidate guard who averages 14.2 points, 6.0 assists, 2.1 steals, and 3.2 rebounds per game for Oklahoma State.
He called it “our priority No. 1″. Then he added “Whitney Knight must lead the way, but we need five, six, or seven kids to play really well if we’re going to beat Oklahoma State.” “And we need to limit second chance shots,” he concluded. The game plan was drawn. The gauntlet has been cast down. And let’s not forget, it was the women who became the first NCAA basketball team to qualify for the big dance in school history.
The memories of two years ago, the heartbreaking overtime loss in Tallahassee to #5 seed St. Bonaventure is just a footnote in the program now. Second guessing Coach Smesko’s inbound play call in the last seconds is a distant memory to finally be put to rest. This is a new day. KARMA is on our side.
Time for the jump ball! Their six-foot three girl vs. our six-foot three girl.
Photos from the WBB FGCU vs OK State click here