@FGCU_WBB Prepares to Host Jacksonville in Battle for First Place
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
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Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Jacksonville (8-9 | 5-1 A-Sun)
at
FLORIDA GULF COAST (12-6 | 6-0 A-Sun)
1/23/2014 | Alico Arena - Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 1814
1st2ndFinal
Jacksonville252449
FLORIDA GULF COAST391756
Stats at a GlanceJUFGCU
FG Percentage.327 (18-55) .347 (17-49)
3P FG Percentage.444 (4-9) .250 (4-16)
FT Percentage.600 (9-15) .720 (18-25)
Offensive Rebounds114
Defensive Rebounds3131
Total Rebounds4235
Turnovers149
Steals47
Bench Points410
Statistical LeadersJUFGCU
PointsREDDICK - 14
KNIGHT - 20
ReboundsREDDICK - 7
SCOTT - 7
ALFORD - 7
HANSEN - 9
AssistsREDDICK - 3
COBB - 3
DUNSON - 3
StealsREDDICK - 2
HANSEN - 3
BlocksDAWKINS - 2
KNIGHT - 9

Jacksonville (8-8 | 5-0 Atlantic Sun) at FGCU (11-6 | 5-0 Atlantic Sun)
Thursday, Jan. 23 | 7 p.m. | Alico Arena
Video: ESPN3
Live Stats: Statbroadcast via FGCUAthletics.com
Twitter: @FGCU_WBB
Game Notes: FGCU |  Jacksonville |  Atlantic Sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. – With a perfect mark of 5-0 in Atlantic Sun action, the FGCU women’s basketball team will host Jacksonville University – the league’s only other undefeated team – Thursday night at Alico Arena.  Tipoff in the battle of the unbeaten is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be viewed live and free of charge on ESPN3 with David Moulton and J. Webb Horton on the call.

All veterans, active military personnel and first responders with identification will receive two free general admission tickets to the A-Sun matchup.

THE GREEN & BLUE

The defending regular season champion Eagles began conference play at 5-0 for the fifth-consecutive year and currently hold an overall record of 11-6 after defeating Kennesaw State and Mercer last weekend.  The team holds the top position in the A-Sun standings, tied with only Jacksonville.

As a unit, the Eagles have scored 67.3 points per game this season, while allowing the opposition to 63.3 points per contest.  Eagle foes have held the advantage on the glass through 17 games with a 40.7-34.6 margin, while the Eagles have maintained control of the ball with just 14.4 turnovers per game.  FGCU has forced 17.9 opponent turnovers per game this season but has allowed opponents to maintain a .400 shooting percentage.  In conference action, the Eagles have shot 40.1 percent from the field, while holding opponents to a mark of 36.8 percent.

Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of .396 on the season with a .333 mark from 3-point range.  The team has made a combined 162 shots from long range, with an average of 9.5 per game to rank sixth among the NCAA’s 349 teams. 

THE STREAK

The Green and Blue currently hold the nation’s longest regular season conference win streak at 41 games.  The Eagles previously sat behind Big 12 power, Baylor University but saw as the Bears fell to Kansas this week.  The Eagles will also look to continue a 49-game home win streak when they host Jacksonville on Thursday.  The team has won 49 consecutive Atlantic Sun games at Alico Arena since the 2007-08 season and currently holds an all-time home record of 58-1 in conference play. 

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) sits atop of the team statistics with an average of 13.7 points per game.  The captain also leads the team with 6.7 rebounds per game and 43 steals on the season.

Redshirt-Sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) adds 13.2 points per game and leads the team with 45 blocks.  Knight ranks among the top 20 nationally with 2.65 blocks per game and leads the Eagles with 36 made shots from long range.   Knight is averaging a team-high 14.8 points per game in Atlantic Sun contests after scoring a team-high 18 points at Mercer last weekend and has shot 48.1 percent from distance in league games.

Sophomore Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) has consistently led the Eagles this season and is currently averaging 12.6 points per contest.

Transfers Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Westover High School) and Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School) round out the Eagles’ top offensive contributors with 8.4 and 6.7 points per game, respectively.  Cobb leads the team with 43 assists on the year and has been a tremendous force on defense for the Eagles.

Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) entered the Eagles’ starting lineup three games ago and has added 7.8 points per game in conference action including a career-high 17 points in the win over Kennesaw State.  Dunson has also contributed 20 assists through five conference games.

GAME DAY TWEETABLES

- The Eagles have made 3,204 3-pointers in 361 games for an average of 8.8 per game through 12 years.

- The Eagles have faced JU 12 times since 2007 and hold an 11-1 record.  After falling in the first-ever meeting, FGCU has won 11 straight.

- FGCU’s recent starting five (Atwater, Dunson, Hansen, Haas, Knight) have averaged 83 percent of the team’s 71 points per game in conference action.

- The Eagles’ are currently riding a nation-high 41 game win streak in regular season conference action. They have also won 49 straight A-Sun games at Alico Arena.

- Head Coach Karl Smesko picked up his 350th career win against FIU on Nov. 8. That’s a career record of 357-92 & a win percentage of .800.

- The FGCU women’s basketball program currently stands at 299 wins dating back to the 2002-03 season.

- Senior Sarah Hansen currently ranks 12th among all-time A-Sun scorers with 1,672 points and 26th in all-time rebounding at 758 boards.

- It has been 1,841 days since the Eagles lost their last A-Sun game at Alico Arena.

LAST TIME OUT

Backed by 13 team 3-pointers and 18 points from sophomore Whitney Knight, the team defeated Mercer University 69-57 Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Arena. 

The Eagles held a 10-point advantage at halftime but broke open the lead early in the second half by sinking 6-of-10 3-point shots in the opening minutes.  FGCU maintained the lead on strong shooting and capitalizing on Mercer mistakes.  The Eagles extended their lead to a game high 30 points midway through the second half and ultimately took the win, 69-57.

The team converted 42 percent of shots from the field and 37 percent of long-range attempts, while holding the Bears to a shooting percentage of 36 percent overall.  The Eagles won the rebound battle 40-33 and forced 15 Mercer turnovers.

The win extended the Eagles’ regular season win streak to 41 games and helped the team start conference action with a 5-0 record for the fifth-consecutive season.

ALL-TIME MEETINGS

FGCU and Jacksonville have met 12 times since 2007.  After falling by just four points in the first-ever meeting, the Eagles currently hold an impressive 11-1 advantage in the win column and have outscored the Dolphins by an average of 71.7 to 57.3 points per game.  FGCU’s biggest win was a 98-47 victory over JU in 2010.

LAST TIME AGAINST THE BUCS

Backed by a career-high 20 points from then freshman Jaime Gluesing (Solon, Ohio/Solon High School), the Eagles defeated Jacksonville 80-49 at Swisher Gymnasium last February.  FGCU shot 50 percent from the field, while holding JU to just 29.6 percent and scored 47 points on 30 Jacksonville turnovers.  Sarah Hansen added 18 points and six steals in the win.

SCOUTING THE VISITING TEAM

- The Dolphins of Jacksonville University travel to Alico Arena as the only other undefeated team in Atlantic Sun action this season.  The Dolphins are 8-8 on the year after starting the season with a 3-8 nonconference mark.  The team has since defeated Kennesaw State, Mercer, North Florida, Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky to move to 5-0 in conference.  Prior to league play, JU faced two similar opponents to the Eagles in USF and Bethune-Cookman.  Jacksonville fell to both teams by scores of 53-82 and 57-49, while the Eagles picked up two wins.

- As a team, the Dolphins have averaged 66.4 points per game, while allowing opponents to score a near exact 65.4 points per contest.  JU has shot 39.8 percent from the field this season with foes converting 39.5 percent of shots.  The team has made just 26 percent of 3-point attempts but has held opponents to a league-low 25 percent from beyond-the-arc.  JU also leads the league with 11.2 steals per game and forces an average 19.6 turnovers but loses the ball 21.2 times per game.  The Dolphins pace the A-Sun in rebound margin with an average of 4.4 more rebounds per game than their opposition.  JU pulls down 42.1 boards per game

- Individually, the Dolphins are led by a duo of double-digit scorers and four other quality contributors.  Rookie Sharrand Reddick leads the team with 13.8 points per game and a team-high 32 3-pointers.  Reddick has converted 44.4 percent of shots and has made 78 percent of the team’s shots from beyond-the-arc.  Sophomore Queen Alford adds 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for the Dolphins with a team-high 31 steals.  Four other Dolphins add at least 7.4 points per game.  Stephanie Edwards has contributed 7.4 points and has led the team with 58 assists and 34 steals, while Madison Scott, Jade Margill and Briona Brown add 9.1, 8.1 and 7.4 points per contest, respectively. 

- After finishing last season with an 11-19 record including a 7-11 mark in A-Sun action, the Dolphins were selected to finish seventh in the conference this season.  The team is led by first-year Head Coach Yolette McPhee-McCuin.

PRESEASON PROSPECTUS

On the heels of two perfect Atlantic Sun seasons, the FGCU women’s basketball team was predicted to continue its success as the preseason favorite in both the Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll and the A-Sun Media poll.

With 97 points, the Eagles finished nine points ahead of defending A-Sun Tournament Champion Stetson in the coaches’ poll, while FGCU earned 327 points in the media poll.  The Green and Blue picked up seven of the league’s 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll and was voted as the top-ranked team 30 times by the media. 

It was the fifth-consecutive year that the Eagles’ earned the league’s top vote after winning the A-Sun regular season in four of the last five seasons.  In six seasons of A-Sun action, the Eagles hold a record of 100-12.  The impressive mark includes a 36-game win streak in regular-season play that dates back to 2011 and a 45-game win streak at Alico Arena.

The Eagles also picked up numerous individual preseason awards with Hansen leading the way.  Hansen was named the Atlantic Sun Preseason Player of the Year, the Atlantic Sun Fan-Voted Preseason Player of the Year and the College Sports Madness Preseason Player of the Year.  Knight earned Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference nod, while Dunson was voted by the fans as the Defensive Preseason Player of the Year.  As the reigning A-Sun Coach of the Year, Smesko was named the Preseason Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness to begin this season.

UP NEXT

The Eagles will continue conference play at Alico Arena this weekend as they host the University of North Florida on Saturday, Jan. 25.  Tipoff in the A-Sun showdown is slated for 7 p.m.

FOR MORE INFO

For all the details on Thursday’s matchup checkout:

 

For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the women’s basketball program, follow @FGCU_WBB on Twitter and Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook at /FGCUWBB.

2013-14 women’s basketball season tickets and single-game tickets are selling quickly. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.