The underdog No. 12 seed Florida Gulf Coast Eagles looked across the field to No. 5 seed Washington State and thought to himself, “That doesn’t impress me much.” FGCU pulled off the biggest upset of the NCAA Tournament so far, beating Washington State 74-63.
FGCU senior guard Sha Carter led the way for the Eagles, going 10-for-13 from the field and dropping 26 points in the win. Senior guard Tishara Morehouse herself added 16 points to the win.
FGCU looked strong early on, taking a 17-13 lead over Washington State at the end of the first quarter. Washington State fought its way back in the second quarter and took a one-point lead going into halftime. That momentum did not continue into the third quarter. FCGU outscored Washington State 30-16 in the quarter, essentially putting the game out of reach for the Cougars.
It was the second year in a row that FGCU was upset in the first round of the tournament. The team defeated Virginia Tech last year before falling to Maryland in the second round of the event.
If you were lucky enough to choose FGCU in your bracket, good for you. If not, many feel your pain. Only 42 perfect brackets remain after FGCU’s landslide victory.
Washington State was scuttled by foul trouble and an inefficient night from star guard Charlisse Leger-Walker, who went just 2-of-11 from the field. Leger-Walker averaged 18.1 points for the Cougars during the regular season. She finished Saturday’s game with 5 points.
Leger-Walker wasn’t even on the field when the game ended. She ran into trouble early in the game and was out of the game with over five minutes to play.
The team’s second leading scorer during the regular season, Bella Murekatete, also ran into trouble. She finished with 10 points.
Leading up to the tournament, Washington State gained attention for adopting Shania Twain’s anthem, “Man! I feel like a woman”, as their unofficial fight song. Twain even tweeted about that development, congratulate the team on winning the Pac 12 title.
That storyline came to an end on Saturday, as FGCU was still the one standing when the clock struck zero.