Florida Southern narrowly avoided their second loss of the season in a 55-48 win over Tampa on Nov. 28 to open conference play.
Camille Giardina scored 22 points and Jirah Ards added 13 more as the only two Moccasins to reach double digits during the game. Florida Southern came into the matchup 4-1 on the season while averaging 80.8 points per game. This was the first matchup since Florida Southern defeated Tampa 69-53 in Feb. 21, 2018.
Camille Giardina opened the scoring for the contest, sinking two free throws after 47 seconds to start the game. Jirah Ards joined into the mix and the two went on an 11 point streak to bring the Mocs to a 10 point lead (13-3) with 4:44 left in the first quarter.
The Moccasins went cold with three turnovers resulting in a 8-2 run to end the quarter 15-13. Giardina scored the lone jumper.
Florida Southern looked as if they were starting to click in the second quarter as they went 8-0 to open the second quarter. However, the Mocs again went cold over the last 4:11 as Tampa took a 6-2 during that time.
The Mocs led 26-19 at the half with 8 points and 6 rebounds from Ards. FSC was held to only 29 percent shooting and only 1-4 from three.
Halftime was highlighted with a pickup game of basketball by Noah’s Ark of Central Florida and a performance by the Mocettes Dance Team.
Tampa opened the second half on a 10-4 run in the first 3:46 to make it a 1 point game (30-29) before the Moccasins brought the lead back to 5 points (36-31) with 3:03 left in the third quarter.
Tampa finished the quarter on a 7-0 run to grab the lead (38-36) heading into the final quarter. In the third quarter, the Mocs were held to 18.4 percent from the court, only making 2 of 13 attempts.
The Moccasins took the lead back with 6:19 left in the game (45-44) and worked to extend it as the game concluded. Both teams went cold to end the game as Tampa made 0 field goals over the last 7:34 while Florida Southern failed to make a field goal in the last 3:11.
Florida Southern outscored Tampa by 9 points in the fourth to seal the victory for the Mocs.
Florida Southern’s 7 point finish is the closest win for the Mocs since their season opener against Lee (6 points).
Head Coach Betsy Harris attributes the performance of her players to the lack of leadership on the court.
“They don’t have a leader, so I’ve had to step in and take more control.” – Betsy Harris
Harris went on to say that this is the most talented Moccasin team that she has coached in her five seasons at Florida Southern, but that the lack of chemistry and leadership is causing the team to struggle against opponents.
Florida Southern moves to 5-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Sunshine State Conference. The Mocs will play again Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. against SSC opponent Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.