FGCU's Big 3 Leads Eagles to 77-54 Win At USC Upstate
Monday, January 14, 2013 | by Mike Hill (@Mike_Hill84)
Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Florida Gulf Coast (13-5, 6-0 A-Sun)
USC Upstate (5-11, 1-4 A-Sun)
1/14/2013 | Spartanburg, S.C. (Hodge Center) | Attendance: 512
Florida Gulf Coast364177
USC Upstate213354
Stats at a GlanceFGCUUPST
FG Percentage.531 (26-49) .400 (18-45)
3P FG Percentage.353 (6-17) .250 (2-8)
FT Percentage.792 (19-24) .889 (16-18)
Offensive Rebounds77
Defensive Rebounds2217
Total Rebounds2924
Bench Points1326
Statistical LeadersFGCUUPST
PointsHANSEN - 25
SMITH - 13
ReboundsIAMSTRONG - 7
AssistsIAMSTRONG - 5
StealsKENNEDY - 4
HERR - 2
BlocksHANSEN - 2

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The trio of redshirt junior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) and seniors Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) and Joyce Iamstrong (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional South HS/Jefferson College) combined to score 57 points as the FGCU women’s basketball team shot 53.1 percent from the field en route to a 77-54 Atlantic Sun Conference victory over USC Upstate on Monday night at the Hodge Center. FGCU’s Big 3 outscored Upstate 57-54 and accounted for 74 percent of the team’s scoring on the night.

“I thought we had a pretty good defensive effort, especially on their leading scorer” said head coach Karl Smesko. “We were able to score more than half of our total points in the paint (40) because of our movement on offense. It was a solid team win.”

With the win, FGCU, winners of 24 straight A-Sun games, improves to 13-5 overall and 6-0 in the A-Sun, while Upstate falls to 5-11 overall (1-4 A-Sun). FGCU’s 24 consecutive conference victories ranks as the third longest streak in the country behind defending national champion Baylor (26) and Princeton (25). The victory also improves the Green and Blue’s record against the Spartans at the Hodge Center (3-2) and in the all-time series with Upstate (8-2).

The Eagles, who have made at least one three-pointer in 215 consecutive contests and 327 of 328 games in program history, made six triples on the night and now have 156 triples as a team. Five different players made at least one trey for the Green and Blue, who two days earlier set the NCAA Division I record for three-pointers in a single game (22), led by Hansen’s career-best 2-of-5 night.

Hansen turned in 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Kennedy registered 17 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists in 32 minutes, while Iamstrong recorded 15 points, seven boards and five assists.

The A-Sun’s 2012 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Kennedy played lock down defense on Upstate’s leading scorer Tee’Ara Copney, in addition to her solid game on offense. Copney, who averages 13.3 points per game, was held to just four points on 2-of-7 shooting and forced into five turnovers in 34 minutes.

Upstate jumped out to an early 11-9 lead over the first 6:14 of the game. The Green and Blue responded with a 19-7 run, highlighted by six points from both Kennedy and Hansen, to grab a 10-point advantage (28-18) with 7:40 left in the opening period.

The Spartans scored three straight points from the charity stripe to cut the FGCU advantage to 28-21 (5:32), but the Eagles went on to close out the half on an 8-0 run, capped by a pair of DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover HS) free-throws to take a 36-21 lead into the locker room at the half. After going down early (11-9), FGCU outscored the Spartans, 27-10, over the final 13 minutes of the period.

Iamstrong and Hansen led the Green and Blue with 11 points in the first half, while Kennedy added 10 points and a pair of steals. FGCU shot 50 percent (13-for-26) from the floor, while limiting Upstate to 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) from the field. The Eagles, who knocked down three shots from behind the arc in the first half, forced USC Upstate into 11 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

In the second half, FGCU continued to carve up the Spartan defense, extending their lead to as many as 25 points before winning by the final score of 77-54.

The Spartan shot 40 percent (18-for-45) from the floor, 25 percent (2-for-8) from long range and 88.9 percent (16-for-18) from the free throw line.

FGCU shot 53.1 percent (26-for-49) from the floor and hit six three-pointers on 17 attempts (35.3 percent). The Eagles also registered 29 rebounds to win the rebound battle, forced Upstate into 20 turnovers and tallied 16 assists on 26 made baskets.

The Green and Blue are back in action on Saturday, January 19 when they host the A-Sun’s newest member Northern Kentucky (6-8, 3-2 A-Sun) at Alico Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Fans can follow FGCU on Twitter (@FGCU_WBB), Instagram (@FGCUWbb) and on Facebook by liking FGCU Women’s Basketball (www.Facebook.com/FGCUWbb).