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@FGCU_WBB to Begin Final Home Series with Lipscomb
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||64||44||108|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.390 (23-59)||.588 (40-68)|
|3P FG Percentage||.375 (9-24)||.500 (12-24)|
|FT Percentage||.750 (12-16)||.842 (16-19)|
KNIGHT - 2
MOORE - 2
KNIGHT - 2
FORT MYERS, Fla. – As the end point of the season approaches, the FGCU women’s basketball team will conclude the home portion of the Atlantic Sun slate this weekend. The Eagles will begin the series with a 7 p.m. contest against Lipscomb University on Thursday, Feb. 27 at Alico Arena. Fans can watch the game live and free of charge on ESPN3 with David Moulton and J. Webb Horton 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 six-straight wins. The Eagles now stand at 20-7 on the season with a record of 14-1 in league play for their 10th-straight 20-win season. The team maintains a tie at the top the Atlantic Sun standings with in-state rival Stetson University, who they will face in the conference finale.
The Eagles have scored 68.3 points per game this season, while holding opponents at 59.2 points scored per contest for an A-Sun best points allowed. In conference play, FGCU has outscored the opposition by a margin of 17.5 points through 15 games and has held foes to an average of 52.9 points per game.
Eagle opponents have held a rebounding advantage through 27 games this season with a 39.4 to 34.6 average but FGCU has maintained control of the ball with just 12.9 turnovers in conference play, while forcing 18.5 miscues per game. The team maintains a turnover margin of +5.7 to rank among the top seven percent of Division I teams.
Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of 40.5 this season with a clip of 34.2 percent from the perimeter. The team has made a combined 269 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 14.0 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 55 steals on the season. Hansen has averaged over 16 points per game in the last three weeks and has increased her career total to 1,817 points.
Knight adds 12.3 points per game and leads the team with 75 blocks on the year for a new single-season FGCU record. Knight ranks among the top-20 nationally with 2.79 blocks per game and leads the Eagles and the conference with 65 made shots from the perimeter.
Haas has continued to add to the Eagles’ offense this season and is currently averaging 11.5 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 7.6 and 7.5 points per game, respectively. Cobb has added 66 assists on the year and has been a tremendous force on defense for the Eagles with 49 steals.
Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) entered the Eagles’ starting lineup in January and has added 7.7 points per game in conference action. Dunson has also contributed 72 assists on the season with 66 of those in conference action.
LAST TIME OUT
With five double-digit scorers, the team cruised past the University of North Florida, 80-54 Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville.
Hansen led the Eagles with 17 points on the day with a perfect 7-for-7 performance from the field. Hansen sank two 3-pointers and grabbed five rebounds. With the strong showing, Hansen moves to the 10th position in the all-time Atlantic Sun scoring ranks with 1,815 career points.
The 7-for-7 display ranks as one of the program’s best shooting performance of all-time. Only Joyce Iamstrong’s 9-for-9 showing in 2013, also against UNF, sits higher in the record books.
Haas and Amanda Moore (Seymour, Ind./Seymour High School) added 13 point each, while Cobb and Knight chipped in 11 in the Eagles’ offensive surge.
Collectively, the Eagles shot 50 percent from the field with a 36.4 percent mark from 3-point range, while holding the Ospreys to 34.5 percent overall and 25 percent from beyond-the-arc. The home team outrebounded FGCU 42-39 but FGCU held control of the ball with just nine turnovers while forcing 19 UNF miscues. The Eagles exploited UNF’s mistakes for a season-high 28 points off turnovers.
The Eagles have faced the Bisons of Lipscomb on 12 occasions with a perfect 12-0 mark dating back to 2008. FGCU has earned 12-straight double-figure wins with an average margin of victory of 24 points including the 85-67 win at Lipscomb earlier this season. The Green and Blue holds a 72-47 point average advantage and has held Lipscomb to fewer than 60 points on all but one occasion. The Eagles’ largest victory was an 89-38 win in Nashville last season.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE LADY BISONS
After trailing by 10 points late in the first half, the team produced a 30-point turnaround to earn an 85-67 victory over Lipscomb Jan. 30 at Allen Arena.
The home team took an initial lead and pressured the Eagles through the first half. The Lady Bison extended their advantage to a game-high 10 points with five minutes remaining in the half before the Eagles exploded for a comeback. Led by 10 points from Atwater, the Green and Blue produced a 17-2 run to end the half with a 29-24 lead. Sparked by a shooting percentage greater than 50 percent in the second half and a season-high 15 3-pointers, the Eagles increased their lead to a game-high 21 points and ultimately took their eighth win of the conference season with their highest point total of the year.
As a unit, the Eagles shot 45.3 percent from the field, while holding the Lady Bison to a mark of 35.6 percent. The high shooting percentage included a second-half efficiency of 53.1 percent. The team converted 39.5 percent of shots from beyond-the-arc, with 10-of-21 made in the second half, and made 66.7 percent of its free throws. The Eagles also outrebounded the Lady Bison 43-36 and produced a season-high 21 assists.
Hansen led the Eagles’ offensive production with 18 points, while Atwater put up 14 and Cobb contributed 12 points. Three others added strong numbers for FGCU as Haas and Knight each scored nine points and Katie Meador (Salem, Ill./Salem Community High School) recorded a season-high eight points.
SCOUTING THE VISITING TEAM
- The Bisons of Lipscomb are currently 5-20 on the season with a record of 2-12 in Atlantic Sun action. The team is 2-11 on the road and most recently defeated Jacksonville and UNF before falling to Northern Kentucky by just four points last weekend.
- As a team, the Bisons have averaged 69 points per game, while allowing opponents to score a 81.4 points per contest. Lipscomb has shot 37.6 percent from the field this season with foes converting 35.2 percent of shots. The Bison pull down 37.2 rebounds per game, almost eight fewer than their opposition and turn the ball over an average of 15.8 times with 11.8 assists per contest.
- Danay Fothergill has led the Bison with 19.3 points per game since gaining eligibility in late December, while Ashley Southern has added 16.0 points per game. Chandler Cooper and Sara Bliss add 16.0 and 15.4 points per game, respectively with Cooper pacing the team with 49 33 3-point shots this season. Southern also leads the team’s rebounding effort with 11.6 boards per game and has recorded 19 double-doubles this season. Maya Dillard contributes to the offensive attack with 78 assists and 31 total steals.
- 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. They currently rank ninth in the 10-team league.
The Green and Blue currently hold a 53-game home win streak in Atlantic Sun action. The team has won 53 consecutive Atlantic Sun games at Alico Arena since January of 2009 and currently holds an all-time home record of 62-1 in conference play at home since the 2007-08 season.
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 six 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 77 points per game since falling in Highland Heights. The team has also forced 18.8 opponent turnovers, while recording just 10.8 miscues per game and has grabbed 10.8 steals. FGCU has outrebounded foes in five of those games and has seen Hansen, Haas, Dunson, Cobb 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’ 1,845 points scored this season, 43.7 percent have been scored from distance.
The Green and Blue have a strong history in 3-point shooting, as the Eagles have made 3,306 shots from beyond-the-arc in just 12 years. The team has also made a 3-pointer in 370 of the team’s 371 games and is currently riding a 258 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.
Smesko’s game preparation is one of the most crucial factors in the Eagles’ all-time success. This season, the team is 11-2 in games when they have had four or more days to prepare. In 12 seasons, Smesko holds a record of 105-20 in games with that much time for preparing for a win percentage of 84 percent.
The Eagle reserves have averaged just 16.5 points per game this season. However, since the beginning of February, the team has increased the bench production to 27.3 points per game including a season-high 36 points off the bench in the win over Mercer on Feb. 13.
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 3,670 minutes on the court for FGCU. In 125 games, Hansen has averaged 29.4 minutes per game.
Among Atlantic Sun competitors, Hansen now ranks 10th in career points with 1,817 and sits just 12 points from taking over the ninth 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 833 boards, Hansen needs two more to crack the top 20.
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 308-63 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 conclude the regular season Atlantic Sun slate with a rematch against Northern Kentucky on Saturday, March 1. Prior to the 7 p.m. tipoff, Hansen will be honored for her contributions to the FGCU women’s basketball program.
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.