FGCUAthletics.com
Women's Basketball Set to Face FIU in the Battle of the Alley
Sunday, November 13, 2011 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Florida Gulf Coast (1-1)
at
FIU (1-1)
11/14/2011 | US Century Bank Arena (Miami, Fla.) | Attendance: 326
1st2ndFinal
Florida Gulf Coast404080
FIU294372
Stats at a GlanceFGCUFIU
FG Percentage.436 (24-55) .455 (25-55)
3P FG Percentage.389 (14-36) .286 (4-14)
FT Percentage.857 (18-21) .818 (18-22)
Offensive Rebounds98
Defensive Rebounds2424
Total Rebounds3332
Turnovers1412
Steals86
Bench Points941
Statistical LeadersFGCUFIU
PointsJACKSON - 29
Hutlassa - 22
ReboundsHANSEN - 7
TEAM - 7
Coley - 9
AssistsJACOBSON - 4
CHIHIL - 4
Coley - 8
StealsCHIHIL - 2
KNIGHT - 2
WHITFIELD - 2
Hutlassa - 3
BlocksColey - 3

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast women's basketball team heads to Miami, Fla. for a non-conference game at FIU Monday night at 6 p.m. in U.S. Century Bank Arena.

DATE/TIME: Friday, November 14, 2011/6 P.M. ET
SITE:
Miami, Fla. - U.S. Century Bank Arena
LIVE STATS:
FIUSPORTS.com
LIVE VIDEO:
FIUSPORTS.com
LIVE AUDIO:
FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT:
Tom James (Play-by-Play)
SERIES:
Third Meeting; FGCU leads 2-0
LAST MEETING:
Dec. 15, 2010 - FGCU 86, FIU 71 at Alico Arena

SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
Last Time Out
FIU kicked off its 37th season of women’s basketball on Friday, Nov. 11, as the Panthers dominated Jacksonville, 63-37, at U.S. Century Bank Arena. Three Panthers scored in double-figures, led by sophomore Jerica Coley, who registered her fourth-career double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds on the night, while also contributing career-high marks of eight assists and seven blocks. Junior Finda Mansare chipped in with 16 points and freshman Kamika Idom added 12 points in her collegiate debut. Freshman Zsofi a Labady notched 10 rebounds in her first collegiate outing, while redshirt senior Fanni Hutlassa recorded a squad-best and career-high-tying four steals on the night.

AT A GLANCE
FGCU, fresh off a loss in the 2011-12 season opener at Seton Hall, will face FIU on Monday night in Miami, Fla. at the U.S. Century Bank Arena. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m., as the Eagles look for their first win of the season and will look to avoid starting the season 0-2 for just the second time in program history (last time: 2003-04).

UP NEXT
Following the FIU game, the Eagles will head home to host No. 25 Michigan State in the 2011-12 home opener on Saturday, Nov. 21 ... tipoff is 7:05 p.m. for the second matchup between the teams (MSU leads all-time series 1-0).

D-1 TESTED & NOW APPROVED
On August 12, 2011, all 14 of FGCU’s Division I sports became postseason eligible when the NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved the recommendation from the NCAA Division I Administration Cabinet to elect FGCU to Division I active membership. FGCU began its transition into Division I in 2007-08. The Eagles are now eligible for Atlantic Sun postseason play and NCAA Tournament.

EAGLES INK A PAIR TO NLI’S
FGCU announced Thursday (Nov. 10) that Katie Meador and Taylor Gradinjan will join the Eagles next season. Meador, a 5-11 wing at Salem Communuity High School in Salem, Ill., averaged 19.3 points and 9.6 rebounds and recorded 14 double-doubles as a junior. Gradinjan, a 5-9 guard, was a first team All-State selection as a junior at Cudahy High School, averaging 20.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 3.3 assists per game. 

PICKIN’ UP PRESEASON HARDWARE
The FGCU women’s basketball squad, led by preseason All-Conference selections senior Courtney Chihil and redshirt sophomore Sarah Hansen, earned top billing in the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason coaches’ and media polls, the conference announced on Oct. 11.

In the coaches’ poll, FGCU’s took eight of the 10 first place votes, with ETSU and Belmont each picking up one vote. In the media poll, the Eagles received all 19 first place votes.

For the first time in conference history, the A-Sun let the fans decide preseason awards via Facebook. Belmont’s Haley Nelson was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year, while the Bruins were also picked to win the regular-season title. Chihil was tabbed the fan’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Hansen was also named to the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team.

EARLY START
The Green and Blue’s opener on Nov. 11, marked the program’s second earliest calendar start. The 2007-08 season began on Nov. 9 with a home game vs. Florida State.

FGCU IN NOVEMBER
• FGCU has a 37-12 all-time record in games played in November.

• Since moving to Division I in 2007-08 the Eagles hold a 12-7 record in the month of November.

FGCU IN SEASON OPENERS
The Eagles own a 7-3 record in season openers, but are just 0-2 in season openers on the road.

FGCU IN HOME OPENERS
The Eagles own a 8-1 record in home openers, with the lone loss coming at the hands of Florida State in the 2006-07 home opener. FGCU defeted Seton Hall 64-57 in last year’s home opener.

AWAY FROM HOME
FGCU has a 77-28 all-time record as the visiting team. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 33-21 road record.

A-SUN REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS...AGAIN
For the second time since moving to Division I in 2007-08, FGCU captured a regular-season championship. The Eagles won the 2010-11 A-Sun regular season crown with a 17-3 record against conference competition.

The Green and Blue won their first league regular-season title in 2008-09 with a 17-3 conference record. The Eagles finished the 08-09 campaign with a 26-5 overall record and lost to eventual champion USF (88-81 OT) in the second round of the WNIT in Tampa, Fla.

The Eagles have won 13+ A-Sun games in four straight seasons. FGCU is 64-12 (.842) in conference play over the last four years and has won 27 of its last 32 Atlantic Sun regular season games over the past two seasons.

FOUR-STRAIGHT POSTSEASON APPEARANCES
The Eagles qualified for their 4th-straight postseason, advancing to the WNIT Second Round. FGCU, who has received four automatic bids to the WNIT, holds a 3-4 record in the postseason tourney, including wins over USF, George Washington and Drexel.

SEVEN CONSECUTIVE 21-WIN SEASONS
The Eagles posted its seventh-straight 21-win season in 2010-11, going 28-4. FGCU’s 28 wins were fourth most wins in program history.

The lone season that the Green and Blue failed to win 21 games was during the 2003-04 campaign, where the Eagles went 18-8.

Over the seven-year span, FGCU has accumulated 202 wins and 45 losses.

FGCU RANKED#8 IN MID-MAJOR POLL
The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team earned the No. 8 spot in the first edition of the 2011-12 CollegeInsider.com Women’s Basketball Mid-Major Top 25 poll, announced on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The Mid-Major Poll is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast Conference.

The Green and Blue, who earned the No. 10 spot in the final Mid-Major poll, are the only Atlantic Sun Conference team represented in the Top 25, while ETSU received 17 votes.

GETTIN’ LOVE FROM ESPN
In the first edition of the mid-major top 10 written by ESPN’s Graham Hayes, the Eagles picked up the No. 5 spot. The mid-major top 10 returns with the same ground rules. All conferences beyond the BCS six (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) qualify for consideration.

Here’s what Hayes said about FGCU:

5. Florida Gulf Coast

Finally eligible for the NCAA tournament after completing the transition to Division I, FGCU might not waste much time availing itself of the new opportunity. Five of the six main rotation players return from a team that went 28-4 a season ago, including leading scorer Sarah Hansen and 3-point wizard Kelsey Jacobson. Newly eligible Oregon State transfer Brittany Kennedy and a freshman class highlighted by top-100 signee Whitney Knight and Greek foward Anthi Chatzigiakoumi suggest depth won’t be an issue.

Key player: Courtney Chihil. Any 5-8 player who leads a team in rebounding (5.8 per game) and leads a conference in assist-turnover ratio (1.89) is worth singling out for attention. The one rotation loss, Shannon Murphy, was a big one, but Chihil could soften the loss. She does everything else.

NEW TO THE COACHING STAFF...FAMILIAR TO THE STAFF
Coach Smesko’s young and talented staff got even younger when former FGCU standout Chelsea Lyles was added named an assistant coach in July 2011.

Lyles played for coach Smesko from 2008-2010 where she helped the Eagles win one A-Sun regular season crown and earn back-to-back WNIT automatic bids. A two-time A-Sun All-Conference first team selection, she led the Eagles to a 50-12 overall record and 34-6 conference record in her two seasons in the blue and green. Lyles ranks fifth in the FGCU career record books in field goals made (273) and three-point field goals made (113), and sixth in points (839) and rebounds (337).

The recipient of the FGCU Athletic Department’s 2009-10 Most Outstanding Female Student-Athlete Award, Lyles led the Eagles to non-conference wins over UCF, Cornell, George Washington, Texas El-Paso (UTEP), Tulsa and Florida.

FRESH FACES
Five newcomers join the Eagles for ’10-11. That list includes two true freshmen (Whitney Knight and Anthi Chatzigiakoumi). Transfers Joyce Iamstrong, Autumn Lau, and Shayla Ball also join the program.