The following is a look inside the FGCU women’s basketball program, its program success and its big matchup this afternoon. Written by Mechelle Voepel, it originally appeared on ESPN.com Tuesday, Nov. 26.
FORT MYERS, Fla. –Florida Gulf Coast coach Karl Smesko has watched a lot of Stanford games over the years. But he doesn't think he has ever spoken before with Tara VanDerveer, the Cardinal's legendary coach.
That's not surprising, considering their respective schools are 3,000 miles apart, and they have very different recruiting pools. Yet it seems somehow appropriate that Smesko's Eagles will be the opponent Wednesday in Mexico when the Cardinal go for VanDerveer's 900th career victory.
Why? Because you get the feeling that if Smesko and VanDerveer sat down to watch a game together, they'd end up talking for hours. They are both basketball technicians, coaches who love the cerebral choreography of the game.
For instance, there aren't just "good shots" and "bad shots." Everything is on a spectrum.
"The question always is, 'Can you play to your strengths for 40 minutes?'" Smesko said. "It's hard. You get comfortable, and say, 'This seems like a good-enough shot; it's not that contested.' But with a little bit more work, you might get a shot that's 20 percentage points better."
Sounds exactly like something VanDerveer would say, too, doesn't it?
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