(19-9, 13-4 A-Sun)
Florida Gulf Coast
(24-5, 17-0 A-Sun)
2/28/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 3011
|Florida Gulf Coast||51||38||89|
|Stats at a Glance||MER||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.143
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Five players scored in double figures as the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Mercer, 89-62, on Thursday night at Alico Arena in front of 3,011 fans.
“I was pleased with the way we started the game tonight,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “Our focus now turns to Kennesaw State and finishing up the regular season on a high note as we head into the conference tournament next week.”
With their 18th straight victory, the Green and Blue improve to 24-5 overall and 17-0 in the A-Sun, while the Bears fall to 19-9 overall (13-4 A-Sun). The victory also puts FGCU one win away from becoming the first team in A-Sun history to go undefeated in conference play in back-to-back seasons.
Winners of 12 straight against MU, the Eagles have now won 38 straight A-Sun games overall (including the conference tournament) and 35 consecutive regular season conference contests. FGCU’s 35 consecutive conference victories rank as the second longest streak in the country behind defending national champion Baylor.
The Eagles, who have made at least one three-pointer in 226 consecutive contests and 338 of 339 games in program history, made nine triples on the day, led by four from redshirt senior Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes HS/Valpo).
Adams shot 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from behind the arc to register 14 points in 22 minutes of action. Senior Joyce Iamstrong (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional South HS/Jefferson College) recorded 14 points, four assists and three boards. Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) and redshirt senior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) finished with 11 points each. Freshman Jaime Gluesing (Solon, Ohio/Solon HS) tallied 10 points and four assists, while classmates DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover HS) and Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat HS) chipped in with eight points and five boards and eight points and four rebounds, respectively.
FGCU opened the game with a 27-11 run, highlighted by seven points from Iamstrong and six from Hansen, over the first 9:40 of the opening period.
After a layup from Ry’van Buchanon cut the Green and Blue’s lead down to 32-15 (9:16), the Eagles outscored the Bears 19-11 over the final 8:33 to take a 51-26 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Iamstrong and Adams led the Eagles with 12 points each in the first half, while Dunson added eight points and four rebounds. FGCU shot 56.7 percent (17-for-30) from the floor, while limiting MU to 9-of-31 (29 percent) from the field. The Eagles knocked down all six of their attempts from behind the arc in the first half, while forcing Mercer into seven miscues in the opening 20 minutes.
FGCU started the second half with a 10-3 scoring spurt, capped by a Katie Meador (Salem, Ill./Salem Community HS) layup, to take a 61-29 with 15:35 left on the clock. Mercer then used a 20-9 run to cut the Eagles’ lead down to 21 points (70-49) at the 9:38 mark.
The 21-point deficit proved to be too much for the Bears to overcome as the Green and Blue went on to pick up the 89-62 conference victory.
Mercer finished the night with a 36.8 percent shooting percentage (21-of-57). Sharmesia Smith led MU with 13 points and 19 rebounds, while the A-Sun’s leading scorer Precious Bridges finished with 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting.
The Eagles shot the ball well all night and finished the contest with a 53.8 shooting percentage. FGCU, who came into the game ranked second in the nation in three-point field goals made per game (9.2), hit nine triples on 13 attempts (69.2 percent), forced Mercer into 16 turnovers, scored 38 points in the paint and tallied 17 assists on 28 made baskets.
The Green and Blue will wrap up the regular season by welcoming Kennesaw State (7-22, 3-14 A-Sun) to ‘The Nest’ on Senior Day (Mar. 2). Tip off for the final A-Sun contest of the 2012-13 season is set for 7:30 p.m.
FGCU, the No. 1 seed in the 2013 A-Sun Tournament, will play their quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Mar. 6. Tip-off times are still to be determined. FGCU Athletics is now offering ticket packages for the conference tournament at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Fans can get ticket booklets that include admission into every game of the men’s and women’s tournament (14 games) for $20 (children ages 6-11), $50 (seniors 62 and older and students ages 12-22) or $75 (adults). All tickets are general admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling the FGCU ticket office Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 239-590-7145, in person at the Alico Arena ticket office or by ordering online at www.fgcuathletics.com/tickets.
Fans can follow FGCU on Twitter (@FGCU_WBB), Instagram (@FGCUWbb) and on Facebook by liking FGCU Women’s Basketball (www.Facebook.com/FGCUWbb).