FORT MYERS, Fla.- Today we take a look at part two of our four part series on the Florida SouthWestern State Teams of the Decade as we highlight the Buccaneer Women's Basketball program. The Bucs wrapped up their fourth season as the decade turned in 2020. In those four seasons, the Bucs won three Suncoast Conference Championships, going 34-5 in conference play, and reached their first two NJCAA National Tournaments in program history.
There is no way that the team, voted on by staff, media, and fans, could encompass all of the great players that have gone through the program in just a short time, but this is a fun, lighthearted way to help celebrate some of the best. Enjoy!
We will start with the lone one year performer on the list, Sheslanie Laureano. Laureano was electric for the Bucs in her first season in Purple and Aqua in 2019-2020, putting up 15.3 points per game while shooting 50% from the field. She also chipped in on the glass where she averaged 6.3 rebounds per game and was a stalwart on the defensive end, picking off 2.3 steals per game. Her 15.3 career points per game rank third, behind two other players on this team, while her 474 points in 2019-20 are fifth most in a single season in program history, again behind three other players on list.
One of two members of the Bucs' inaugural 2016 squad on the All-Decade Team, Erna Normil ranks in the top three in program history in a number of different career and single season categories. Her 913 career points and 329 career field goals both rank third while her 112 three pointers made and .343 three point percentage both rank second. She is one of four players in program history, all on this list, to have two 400+ point scoring seasons, putting up 487 as a freshman, which is third most in program history, and 426 her sophomore season which also ranks in the top 10. She was a First Team All-Conference selection in two different conferences for the Bucs, named to the Southern Conference squad in 2017 and the Suncoast Conference team in 2018. After her time with FSW she stayed in Fort Myers to play for Florida Gulf Coast University, helping the Eagles to a pair of NCAA Tournament bids.
The most decorated player on the All-Decade Team, Tina Stephens was a dominating force for the Bucs during her stay in Fort Myers, earning back to back Suncoast Conference Player of the Year honors while being named the program's first and only two time NJCAA All-American. Stephens is FSW's all-time leading scorer with 1,071 points, becoming the first Buc to break the 1,000 point mark, and is tied with Za'Nautica Downs for the top spot on the points per game chart at 17.0 per night in her career. Stephens was more than just a prolific scorer for the Bucs though. She finished her career as the all-time leading rebounder with 490, was the all-time steals leader with 150 before being passed by Downs in 2020, and is third in career shot blocks with 44. Stephens signed at the University of Kansas after her time with the Bucs and was one of the Jayhawks top players during her junior season in 2019-20, averaging 10.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 25 contests.
With all of the scorers on our All-Decade Team, we had to have someone who could get them the ball, which is where LaToya Ashman comes in. Ashman is the Bucs' all-time assists leader with 150, hooking up her teammates at a clip of 4.8 per game which is also a program best. When she wasn't dishing it out, she was putting it in the hole, ranking fourth on FSW's all-time scoring list with 908 career points and 14.4 points per game over her two year career. Ashman's 82 career three pointers made are third most in program history and her .329 mark from beyond the arc is third best. She, like Normil, was a two-time First Team All-Conference performer, once in the Southern Conference and once in the Suncoast Conference, and was the Bucs' first FCSAA All-State selection when she, along with Stephens earned the honors in 2018. After FSW Ashman finished her career with two seasons at LSU.
Our fifth and final member of the All-Decade Team of the 2010s for the Bucs is fan favorite Za'Nautica Downs. Downs' smile isn't the only thing that lit up Suncoast Credit Union Arena on game day, her play on the floor did as well. She finished her career second all-time in scoring with 1,057 points in 62 games, good for a 17.0 point per game clip which is tied with Stephens for most of any player to ever don the Purple and Aqua. Downs never shied away from launching shots up from anywhere on the floor, knocking down 146 career threes, 34 more than any other player in program history. She holds three of the top six single game scoring marks in program history including a record 41 point outburst against Hillsborough last season. A menace on the defensive side of the floor as well, Downs 152 career steals are most in program history while her 146 career assists are second most, behind only Ashman. She was a First Team All-Suncoast Conference selection in both of her seasons with the Bucs and was an FCSAA All-State and NJCAA All-American pick during her sophomore season in 2019-2020.
Stay tune to FSWBucs.com and to @FSWBucs on social media as we continue our Teams of the Decade series later this week.