In the Atlantic Sun, the team with the highest seed remaining gets to host both the semifinals and final should they advance.
That made the Stetson Hatters' controversial 74-73 overtime loss to the FGCU Eagles all the more heartbreaking: with the two teams entering the regular season finale tied at the top of the standings, FGCU's win gave them the top seed in this coming week's tournament.
The controversy came on the final possession of the game with Stetson ahead by one point. FGCU ran an out of bounds play that resulted in an off-balance runner in the paint by senior Sarah Hansen. On the ensuing fight for position on the rebound, Stetson freshman Brianta Saunders was whistled for a foul on FGCU sophomore Stephanie Haas, which you can witness for yourself in the video above from Stetson (and the reverse angle here in a video by Craig Handel of Fort Myers News-Press).
Brian Linder of The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported the reactions from both teams with Stetson coach Lynn Bria not mincing words about her thoughts on the call.
Haas said she was fouled. Her coach, Karl Smesko, said his back was turned when it happened. But Stetson coach Lynn Bria said she took in the entire scene and she was not happy with the call.
"It should have been a no-call," Bria said. "It's horrible officiating, and I don't care who hears it. It's horrible officiating, and when you have two teams that are battling, going back-and-forth and putting it out there, and a call was made like that that is clearly … it's a no-call. You just move on. It's bad. It's really bad."
Stetson still has a shot at hosting those final rounds of the conference tournament if 17-1 FGCU loses in the quarterfinals, but now you make the call: was Bria justified in suggesting that her team was robbed of the top seed in the Atlantic Sun tournament?