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@FGCU_WBB Finishes 4th in 2013 WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll
Thursday, July 18, 2013 | by Mike Hill (@Mike_Hill84)
Photo Credit: Dennis Snyder
Photo Credit: Dennis Snyder

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s basketball added to its solid 2012-13 campaign on Thursday, this time for its efforts in the classroom as the 15-member squad’s cumulative 3.621 grade-point average (GPA) landed the Eagles fourth on the final 2013 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division I Top 25 Team Honor Roll. The Green and Blue finished ninth in the 2012 WBCA Top 25 Team Honor Roll.

“This is great recognition for our players,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “Our players have demonstrated that they are serious students and academically motivated. Our academic support services led by Brynn Richter have been excellent, and my assistants have done a very good job stressing the importance of academics.”

FGCU’s WBCA academic honor caps another stellar season for the program. The Eagles, the first school to go undefeated in A-Sun play in back-to-back seasons, finished the season with the most victories (27) of the 13 Division I institutions in the state of Florida and captured the program’s third consecutive A-Sun Regular Season crown (fourth in the last five years). Led by four-time Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year Karl Smesko, FGCU secured the ninth-straight 21+ win in program history and participated in their sixth consecutive Division I postseason tournament (WNIT).

“I want to congratulate Coach Smesko, his staff, and our terrific group of young women for continuing to collectively define what the term ‘student-athlete’ truly represents, with their fantastic results both on the court and in the classroom,” said FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “We strive to pursue excellence athletically and academically, and our women’s basketball program is a prime example that both can be done at a high level. Including our wonderful faculty and academic support staff, we congratulate all involved with this tremendous achievement.”

Exiting senior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) and rising redshirt senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) have piled up academic awards since the end of the 2012-13 season. Kennedy was named to the A-Sun Academic All-Conference team, while Hansen, a chemistry major and math minor with a 3.94 cumulative GPA, became the first student-athlete in FGCU history to earn Capital One Academic All-American status and was a College Sports Madness and Atlantic Sun Player of the Year honoree, a member of the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA) Women's Scholar-Athlete team, a College Sports Madness and A-Sun first team all-conference selection, the A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a Capital One Academic All-America second team pick, a College Sports Madness All-Mid Major first team selection and a Full Court Mid-Major All-American honorable mention honoree.

The Eagles, who finished the 2012-13 campaign 65th in the final NCAA Women’s Basketball RPI, ranked 1st in the nation in triples per game (9.4), 4th in turnover margin (+7.32), 5th in three-point field goal percentage (24.9), 7th assist-to-turnover ratio (1.25), 8th in turnovers per game (12.4), 11th in scoring margin (17.2), 22nd in scoring defense (52.9) and winning percentage (.794), 27th in steals per game (11.2), 32nd in scoring offense (70.1), 35th in assists per game (15.4), 37th in field-goal percentage (42.7) and 39th in free-throw percentage (74.3). FGCU ranked No. 1 in the A-Sun in 12 of the previously mentioned categories (2nd in field-goal percentage).

Less than 14 months after tying the all-time NCAA record and setting the 2011-12 NCAA single-game high with 21 three-pointers on 51 long range attempts in their 106-27 over NAIA foe Webber International on Nov. 28, 2011 at Alico Arena, the FGCU women’s basketball team knocked down 22 triples in a 97-60 win at ETSU on Jan. 12, 2013. Prior to breaking the record, the Eagles, who own the NCAA Division I single season record for three-pointers (342; 2011-12), were tied for first place all-time with New Mexico State, who drained 21 triples against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 23, 2002. The NCAA Division I record 22 three-point makes are also a program and Atlantic Sun Conference best, as FGCU made 10 treys in the first half and 12 in the second. The Green and Blue hit 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) triples in the final frame in which they outscored the Lady Bucs 46-35.

WBCA Division I Top 25 Team Honor Roll
1. Utah Valley - 3.639
T2. DePaul** - 3.625
T2. St. Francis College (NY) - 3.625
4. FGCU - 3.621

T5. SE Missouri State - 3.546
T5. North Dakota - 3.546
7. Northern Iowa - 3.541
8. Denver - 3.519
9. Brown - 3.518
10. North Dakota State - 3.512
11. Oakland - 3.503
12. Lehigh - 3.498
13. South Dakota State** - 3.492
T14. Eastern Washington - 3.491
T14. Western Carolina - 3.491
16. Cornell - 3.453
17. Youngstown State - 3.438
18. Austin Peay - 3.437
19. Evansville - 3.411
20. Alcorn State - 3.404
21. Harvard - 3.399
22. Northern Kentucky - 3.387
23. Yale - 3.385
24. New Mexico - 3.372
25. South Dakota - 3.368

**-Advanced to the NCAA Tournament