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@FGCU_WBB Prepared for Battle at UNF
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||44||36||80|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||UNF|
|FG Percentage||.500 (29-58)||.345 (19-55)|
|3P FG Percentage||.364 (12-33)||.250 (4-16)|
|FT Percentage||.526 (10-19)||.600 (12-20)|
CONNER - 1
MERKERSON - 1
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After earning a win in the city of Jacksonville on Thursday night, the FGCU women’s basketball team will look to make it two as the Eagles face the University of North Florida Saturday afternoon at UNF Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Fans can listen to the action live via FGCUAthletics.com with Tom James on the call.
THE GREEN & BLUE
Since falling to Northern Kentucky midway through the conference slate, the Eagles have outscored opponents by an average of 25 points a game to pick up five-straight wins. The Eagles now stand at 19-7 on the season with a record of 13-1 in league play. The team maintains a tie at the top the Atlantic Sun standings with in-state rival Stetson University.
The Eagles have scored 67.9 points per game this season, while holding opponents at 59.4 points scored per contest for an A-Sun best points allowed. In conference play, FGCU has outscored the opposition by a margin of 16.9 points through 14 games and has held foes to an average of 52.9 points per game.
Eagle opponents have held a rebounding advantage through 26 games this season with a 39.3 to 34.6 average, but the Eagles have outrebounded their opponents by a slight margin in the last five matchups. FGCU has maintained control of the ball with just 13 turnovers in conference play, while forcing 18.5 miscues per game. The team maintains a turnover margin of +5.4 to rank among the top 10 percent of Division I teams.
Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of 40.2 this season with a clip of 34.1 percent from the perimeter. The team has made a combined 257 shots from long range, with an average of 10 per game to rank second among the nation’s 349 teams.
The Eagles boast three double-digit producers in senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) and sophomores Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) and Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School). All three players rank among the top-20 scorers in the conference.
Hansen sits atop of the team rankings with an average of 13.9 points per game. The senior captain also leads the squad with 7.0 rebounds per game and ranks third in the league with a team-high 54 steals on the season. Hansen has averaged over 16 points per game in the last three weeks and has increased her career total to 1,800 points.
Knight adds 12.3 points per game and leads the team with 70 blocks on the year. Knight ranks among the top-20 nationally with 2.79 blocks per game and leads the Eagles and the conference with 62 made shots from the perimeter.
Haas has continued to add to the Eagles’ offense this season and is currently averaging 11.4 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 point producers with 7.7 and 7.5 points per game, respectively. Cobb has added 65 assists on the year and has been a tremendous force on defense for the Eagles with 48 steals.
Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) entered the Eagles’ starting lineup in January and has added 7.6 points per game in conference action. Dunson has also contributed a 63 assists on the season with 61 of those in conference action. Dunson set a new career high as she led all players with 23 points in the Eagle’s win over Mercer last week.
LAST TIME OUT
Backed by 24 points on 20 Jacksonville turnovers, the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated JU 62-43 Thursday night at Swisher Gymnasium.
Hansen recorded her fourth double-double of the season to lead the Eagles with 14 points and 10 rebounds through 30 minutes. Hansen also led the Eagles with four blocks on the night. Sophomore Haas paced the team with 17 points off the bench, while Cobb, Dunson and Atwater each added seven for the Eagles.
Haas went 7-for-9 from the field with two made 3-pointers in just 18 minutes of action.
Defensively, Cobb led the Eagles with five steals, while the Eagles forced 20 JU turnovers to produce 24 points with 14 steals.
As a unit, the team shot 40.7 percent from the field, while holding the Dolphins to a success rate of 30 percent. The Eagles made 7-of-21 shots from 3-point range and saw the home team go 2-for-10 from beyond-the-arc.
The Eagles have challenged UNF 14 times since 2008 and hold a 12-2 record. FGCU has earned eight-straight wins, all by double-digits, including a 54-34 win at Alico Arena earlier this season. The Green and Blue holds a 63.5 to 48.9 point advantage and has earned 11 double-figure wins with an average margin of victory at 15 points. The Eagles’ largest victory was a 68-34 win at Alico Arena in 2012.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE OSPREYS
The team held the University of North Florida to just 34 points and in turn earned a 54-34 victory at Alico Arena earlier this season.
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 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.
As a unit, the Eagles shot 31.5 percent to edge the Ospreys who converted 29.5 percent of shot attempts. The Green and Blue made 28.1 percent of 3-point attempts and pulled down 32 rebounds compared to UNF’s 42. The home team forced 26 UNF turnovers and scored 30 points on the miscues, while turning the ball over just 12 times.
SINCE THE LOSS
After compiling a 44-game win streak in regular season Atlantic Sun action that spanned 1,067 days, the Eagles were defeated 63-43 at Northern Kentucky to begin the month of February. However, since the loss, the Eagles have produced five wins by an average margin of 25 points including a 99-57 win over Mercer on Feb. 13. The team has shot 45 percent from the field with a 38 percent clip from 3-point range and has averaged 76 points per game since falling in Highland Heights. The team has also forced 18.8 opponent turnovers, while recording just 11 miscues per game and has grabbed 11.2 steals. FGCU has outrebounded foes in those five games and has seen Hansen, Haas, Dunson and Knight all produce an average of over nine points per game.
Backed by a 3-point shooting mark of 34 percent, the Eagles have made an average of 10 long-range shots per game this season. The tally ranks the Eagles second among the nation’s 349 times, behind only Sacramento State, who has tallied 12.7 3-pointers a game this season. Sacramento State is currently on pace to set the NCAA record for 3-point average, previously set by the Eagles in 2012.
Of the Eagles’ 1,765 points scored this season, 43 percent have been scored from distance.
The Green and Blue have a strong history in 3-point shooting, as the Eagles have made 3,294 shots from beyond-the-arc in just 12 years. The team has also made a 3-pointer in 369 of the team’s 370 games and is currently riding a 257 game streak with at least one shot made from the perimeter.
The Eagles currently hold three NCAA records for 3-point shooting including single game (22 made at ETSU last season), single season (342 made in 2012) and average shots made per game (10.7 in 2012).
Individually, 2012 graduate Kelsey Jacobson sits alone as the A-Sun’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers with 330 made in just three seasons.
In her final year as an Eagle, Hansen is ensuring her mark will be left at FGCU. The senior currently holds 11 all-time program records including the top marks in points, rebounds, steals and games started. She most recently set the mark for most minutes played by an FGCU player and has currently seen 3,646 minutes on the court for FGCU. In 124 games, Hansen has averaged 29.4 minutes per game.
Among Atlantic Sun competitors, Hansen ranks 11th in career points with 1,800 and sits just 12 points from taking over the 10th position. If she continues to average 14 points per game, she will finish ranked seventh among the league’s top ever producers. Hansen also ranks among the top 21 producers in rebounds for the Atlantic Sun. With 827 boards, Hansen is on pace to finish among the top 20.
SCOUTING THE HOME TEAM
- The Ospreys of UNF are currently 5-19 on the season with a record of 1-12 in Atlantic Sun action. The team earned wins over Air Force and Georgia Southern before dropping four-straight conference wins to open the season. The Ospreys bounced back with their first conference win on Jan. 18 against Lipscomb but have dropped eight-straight since then, including an 87-59 loss to Stetson on Thursday.
- As a team, the Ospreys have averaged 55.9 points per game, while allowing opponents to score 64.8 points per contest. UNF has shot 36.8 percent from the field this season with foes converting 40 percent of shots. UNF pulls down 39.2 rebounds per game, three more than its opposition, turns the ball over an average of 18.2 times and dishes out 11 assists per contest.
- Individually, the Ospreys are led by junior Destinee Smith’s 11.5 points per game. Smith is aided by 7.7 points per game by Ki Conner and 6.3 points from Bailey Florin. Paulina Zaveckaite leads the team with 6.7 rebounds, while Smith leads UNF with a team-high 39 made shots from 3-point range. Conner led the squad with 12 points in the loss against Stetson
- After finishing last season with a 12-19 record including a 7-11 mark in A-Sun action, the Ospreys upset USC Upstate in the first round of the A-Sun tournament last season before falling to FGCU in the quarterfinal. UNF was selected to finish fifth in the conference this season.
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.
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.
Despite just a 12-year presence, the FGCU women’s basketball team boasts a rich history. Led by 12th-year Head Coach Karl Smesko, the Eagles have produced a program record of 307-63 for a remarkable win percentage of 83 percent. Smesko has produced ten 20-win seasons since the program’s inception with two seasons that eclipsed the 30-win mark.
After playing for the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2007, the team joined the Division I ranks for the 2007-08 season. In their first year of Division I play, the Eagles won 29 games for the fourth most in NCAA history, while producing the third-highest winning percentage of a first-year team at 90.6. After a four-year transition period, the Eagles made the NCAA Tournament in their first year of postseason eligibility. Since making the transition to DI, the Eagles have compiled a record of 173-42 and have finished atop the Atlantic Sun standings four times.
The Eagles will return to Alico Arena for their final two home games of the conference season next weekend. FGCU will host Lipscomb on Thursday before facing Northern Kentucky in a rematch on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.
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.