Tournament – Postgame
Special to the Lehigh Acres Gazette
By: Dick Allen Special Correspondent
Photos By: James Schubert Pro Image Sports Photography
The interview room was packed as everyone awaited the arrival of the FGCU players and Coach Smesko. Team co-captains Junior Jenna Cobb who is the future of the Lady Eagles and Sarah Hansen, the loan Senior were the athletes to be interviewed.
It was evident that all three were quite emotional, but none more so than No. 5, Sarah Hansen. She undeniably was the face of women’s basketball at FGCU. And Sarah had just played her last College game scoring just 7 (avg.13.8) points with 4 (avg. 2.2) turnovers, no assists (avg. 1.9), and pulling down 9 (avg.7.1) rebounds. That certainly is not how the two time A-Sun player of the year and the all-time leader in 12 categories including points, rebounds, steals, and field goals made wanted to finish her career.
She tuffed it out answering all the questions as they were fired at her. At times, choked up with tears swelling in her eyes. Everyone In the room felt her pain. She was asked if thoughts about St. Bonaventure began to creep into her head, losing in overtime after being ahead in her first trip to the NCAA tournament. After going around and around trying to convince everyone (and herself) that they didn’t, she finally admitted “I guess so”. She showed maturity way beyond her years during the interview, gaining the respect and admiration of every reporter in the room. Hansen IS a class act.
Jenna Cobb, an Ohio native transferred from Butler and averaged 8.4 points per game this season. She scored a game high 16 points hitting 4 of 7 from downtown and added 9 rebounds nearly recording her first career double-double. She had the kind of game coach Smesko talked about before the game started, needing 4, 5, or 6 girls to really play well in order to beat Oklahoma State. The young Junior handled herself real well. No surprise, she is a Communications / Public Relations major. She gets a ”A” for this performance both on and off the court.
The girls left, leaving Coach Karl Smesko behind. “This is a very frustrating way to go out,” he said. “March can be very cruel sometimes. I’m really proud of our team in the way we played, we just didn’t finish regulation. We need to make one more play in overtime to advance. Give Oklahoma State credit. They fought and refused to lose”, he concluded. “When you’re playing a team as good as Oklahoma State, you can’t just hope the time runs out,” continued Smesko. “You have to make a play to win the game and I think we got tentative, especially in last 4 -5 minutes. Maybe we were just too afraid to make a mistake or be the one to do something wrong. We weren’t as aggressive as we probably could have been.”