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@FGCU_WBB Heads to Nashville to Face Lipscomb Thursday
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||29||56||85|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.453 (29-64)||.356 (21-59)|
|3P FG Percentage||.395 (15-38)||.321 (9-28)|
|FT Percentage||.667 (12-18)||.800 (16-20)|
HANSEN - 6
HAAS - 6
TEAM - 6
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With four-straight road games on tap, the FGCU women’s basketball team will travel to Music City to begin the road swing as they take on the Lady Bison of Lipscomb University Thursday night. The conference matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and can be watched live and free of charge on ESPN3.
THE GREEN & BLUE
Wins over Jacksonville and North Florida last weekend helped the Eagles extend their perfect conference record to 7-0. FGCU currently maintains a first-place standing in the conference and holds an overall record of 13-6.
Collectively, the Eagles have scored 66 points per game this season, while allowing the opposition to 61 points per contest. Eagle foes have held the rebounding advantage through 19 games with a 40.8-34.5 margin, while the Eagles have maintained control of the ball with just 13.9 turnovers per game. FGCU has forced 18.1 opponent turnovers per game this season but has allowed opponents to maintain a .392 shooting percentage. In conference action, the Eagles have shot 38 percent from the field, while holding opponents to a mark of 35 percent.
Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of .390 on the season with a .327 mark from beyond-the-arc. The team has made a combined 175 shots from long range, with an average of 9.2 per game to rank sixth among the NCAA’s 349 teams.
The Green and Blue currently hold the nation’s longest regular season conference win streak at 43 games. The Eagles previously sat behind Big 12 power, Baylor University but saw as the Bears fell to Kansas recently.
Head coach Karl Smesko and the team picked up their 300th program victory on Thursday night. Through 12 seasons, Smesko has guided the team to an average of 25 wins per year and an overall record of 301-62.
Senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) sits atop of the team statistics with an average of 13.4 points per game. The captain also leads the team with 6.8 rebounds per game and 47 steals on the season.
Redshirt-Sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) adds 13.0 points per game and leads the team with 55 blocks. Knight ranks among the top 15 nationally with 2.95 blocks per game and leads the Eagles with 44 made shots from long range. Knight is averaging a team-high 13.9 points per game in Atlantic Sun contests after scoring a team-high 20 points against Jacksonville last Thursday.
Sophomore Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) has continued to add to the Eagles’ offensive effort this season and is currently averaging 12.1 points per contest, while 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 8.1 and 6.9 points per game, respectively. Cobb leads the team with 48 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 five games ago and has added 6.1 points per game in conference action including a career-high 17 points in the win over Kennesaw State. Dunson has also contributed 27 assists through seven conference games.
GAME DAY TWEETABLES
- The Eagles have challenged Lipscomb 11 times since 2008 and hold a perfect 11-0 record. FGCU has held the Bisons to fewer than 60 points on each occasion.
- FGCU’s recent starting five (Atwater, Dunson, Hansen, Haas, Knight) have averaged 81 percent of the team’s 66.4 points per game in conference action.
- The Eagles’ are currently riding a nation-high 43 game win streak in regular season conference action. They have also won 51 straight A-Sun games at Alico Arena.
- The team earned its 300th win last week and currently stands at 301-62 through 12 years. All wins have come under the leadership of Smesko.
- With Baylor’s loss at Kansas last week, FGCU currently holds the nation’s longest regular-season conference win streak at 43 games.
- Smesko picked up his 350th career win against FIU on Nov. 8. That’s a career record of 362-92 & a win percentage of .800.
- Senior Sarah Hansen currently ranks 11th among all-time A-Sun scorers with 1,687 points and 27th in all-time rebounding at 767 boards.
- The Eagles have made 3,217 3-pointers in 363 games for an average of 8.8 per game through 12 years.
- It has been 1,847 days since the Eagles lost their last A-Sun game at Alico Arena.
LAST TIME OUT
The team held the University of North Florida to just 34 points and in turn earned a 54-34 victory on Saturday night at Alico Arena to improve to 7-0 in conference action and 13-6 overall.
The Eagles held the Ospreys to the fewest points of any team since last year’s season opener against Warner. With the win, the Green and Blue extends its regular-season conference win streak to a nation-high 43 games and its home conference win streak to 51 games.
The visiting team took the lead early in the first half but saw as FGCU constructed a 17-point run to take control of the game before the break. Despite low scoring, the Eagles maintained the advantage through the second half with a strong defensive presence. FGCU increased its lead to a game-high 22 points in the final minute of action and ultimately earned a 20-point victory.
Haas paced the team offensively with a game-high 14 points, while junior Cobb added 12 points and led the Eagles’ defensive effort with a season-high six steals. Ten of Cobb’s points were the result of forced turnovers.
Dunson contributed 10 points for FGCU and led the team with four assists in 27 minutes.
The Eagles have challenged UNF 13 times since 2008 and hold an 11-2 record. FGCU has earned seven-straight wins, all by double-digits. The Green & Blue holds a 63.5 to 48.9 point advantage and has earned 10 double-figure wins with an average margin of victory at 14.6 points. The Eagles’ largest victory was a 68-34 win at Alico Arena in 2012.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE LADY BISONS
The Eagles have challenged Lipscomb 11 times since 2008 and hold a perfect 11-0 record. FGCU has earned 11 wins, all by double-digits and with an average margin of victory of 24.1 points. The Green & Blue holds a 69.7 to 44 point advantage and has held the Lady Bisons to under 60 points on each occasion. The Eagles’ largest victory was an 89-38 win in Nashville last year.
SCOUTING THE HOME TEAM
- The Bisons of Lipscomb are currently 3-15 on the season with a record of 0-7 in Atlantic Sun action and currently sit as the league’s only team without a win. The team is 0-5 at home and has lost eight-straight games since the end of December.
- As a team, the Bisons have averaged 68.2 points per game, while allowing opponents to score a 82.7 points per contest. Lipscomb has shot 37.1 percent from the field this season with foes converting 45.3 percent of shots. The Bison pull down 38.4 rebounds per game, almost eight fewer than their opposition and turn the ball over an average of 15.8 times with 11.7 assists per contest.
- Ashley Southern leads the Bison with 15.7 points per game, while Danay Fothergill has added 20.8 points per game since gaining eligibility in late December. Sara Bliss adds 10.9 points per game with a team-high 33 3-point shots this season. Southern also leads the team’s rebounding effort with 12.2 boards per game and has recorded 13 double-doubles this season. Maya Dillard contributes to the offensive attack with 4.3 assists per game and 26 total steals. Freshman Chandler Cooper could be an offensive threat as she averaged 13.9 points per game before an injury sat her for a month. In Cooper’s return against NKU she put up a season-high 19 points.
- After finishing last season with a 3-26 record including a 2-16 mark in A-Sun action, the Bisons were selected to finish ninth in the conference this season.
Smesko has used 166 different variations of players on the court through 18 games this season. The team’s most efficient lineup – with a rating of +39 - has been the recent starting five of Atwater, Dunson, Haas, Hansen and Knight, while Dunson, Cobb, Haas, Hansen and Knight sit at +21. The group of Atwater, Cobb, Haas, Hansen and Knight produce a ranking of +19 with the most minutes played together & the most points scored.
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 106-12. The impressive mark includes a 42-game win streak in regular-season play that dates back to 2011 and a 50-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.
The Eagles will continue the road trip on Saturday, Feb. 1 as they travel to Highland Heights, Ky. for a matchup with Northern Kentucky University. The matchup is slated for 7 p.m.
FOR MORE INFO
For all the details on Thursday’s matchup check out:
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.