Eagles Defeat USC Upstate to Win 17th Straight and Stay Undefeated in A-Sun Play
Thursday, February 23, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Florida Gulf Coast (25-2, 17-0 A-Sun)
UPST (8-20, 7-10 A-Sun)
2/23/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. (Hodge Center) | Attendance: 313
Florida Gulf Coast443276
Stats at a GlanceFGCUUPST
FG Percentage.554 (31-56) .438 (21-48)
3P FG Percentage.400 (6-15) .400 (4-10)
FT Percentage.667 (8-12) .630 (17-27)
Offensive Rebounds1113
Defensive Rebounds2016
Total Rebounds3129
Bench Points2219
Statistical LeadersFGCUUPST
PointsHANSEN - 22
ReboundsWHITFIELD - 4
AssistsCHIHIL - 6
StealsJACKSON - 4
BlocksHANSEN - 1

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Sophomore Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) scored a game-high 22 points as the No. 29 FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Atlantic Sun foe USC Upstate, 76-63, on Thursday night at the Hodge Center.

With its 17th straight victory, FGCU improves to 25-2 overall (17-0 A-Sun), while the Spartans fall to 8-20 (7-10 A-Sun) on the season. The Eagles are now 7-2 all-time against USC Upstate.

Since joining the A-Sun in 2007-08, the Eagles have 125 victories, which ties them for first all-time in conference history for wins in a 5-year span with FIU (1994-98). The win also gives FGCU 53 wins over the last two seasons, giving the Green and Blue the best 2-year win total in conference history. The Eagles’ 52 wins from 2009-11 and FIU’s 52 wins from 1993-95 now rank second in A-Sun history.

Hansen, who finished with 22 points in just 22 minutes of play, shot 10-of-11 from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. The McKean, Pa. native also had three rebounds, one block and one steal.

The Eagles, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (10.9), knocked down 6-of-15 shots from behind the arc and now have 294 triples as a team.

Ranked No. 3 in the CollegInsider.com Mid-Major poll and receiving votes in both national polls, the Green and Blue forced the Spartans into 24 miscues, which led to 24 FGCU points off turnovers. Upstate’s 63 points mark the 24th time the Eagles, who lead the conference in scoring defense (52.3 ppg), have held an opponent to 65 points or fewer this season.

Senior Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS) registered 15 points, six assists and three steals. Redshirt-junior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) tallied nine points, four boards and three assists, while freshman Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds HS) chipped in with nine points to add to the Green and Blue’s 22-19 edge in bench points.

The Eagles jumped on the Spartans from the tip, opening the game with a 27-10 run, highlighted by 10 points from Hansen and capped by a triple from Amber Rechis (Martin, Tenn./Westview HS), over the first 10:32 of the half. After a layup from Paulina Zaveckaite cut the FGCU lead down to 31-17 with less than seven minutes to play in the opening half, the Green and Blue responded by outscoring the Spartans, 13-7, over to final 6:34 to take a 44-24 lead into the locker room at the half.

FGCU shot lights out in the first half, knocking down 19-of-30 (63.3 percent) attempts from the floor in the opening period, while forcing Upstate into 16 first half turnovers

In the second half, FGCU continued to dominate the Spartans, increasing their lead to as many as 34 points, before picking up the 76-63 win.

The Eagles return to the court on Saturday, Feb. 25 when they take on the Lady Bucs of ETSU (8-20, 7-10 A-Sun) at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center in the final regular season contest of the season. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live on ESPN3.com.