Eagles Finish the Season Ranked in National Polls
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Photo Credit: Don Juan Moore
Photo Credit: Don Juan Moore

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team capped a historic 2011-12 season by finishing ranked No. 4 in the final version of the CollegeInsider.com Women's Mid-Major Top 25 poll and 37th in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Additionally, the Green and Blue finished the year 29th in the last Associated Press poll, which was following the end of the regular-season.

Led by redshirt sophomore Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS), the Eagles had the most historic season in their Division I history, advancing to the NCAA Tournament and earning a No. 12 seed in the Raleigh Region. Led by three-time Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year Karl Smesko, FGCU finished with a 29-3 overall record that included a league-first 18-0 mark in the A-Sun. The Eagles verified the conference’s third-ever unbeaten regular season by cruising through the Atlantic Sun Tournament, taking the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament with a convincing 67-39 win over second-seeded and 20-game winner Stetson. The Green and Blue, with their seven trifectas vs. St. Bonaventure in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, set the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (342).

Hansen, a Full Court Mid-Major All-American Honorable Mention honoree, the A-Sun and DI-AAA ADA Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the A-Sun Tournament MVP, a Capital 1 Academic All-District 4 first team selection and FGCU’s fifth (first unanimous) All-Conference first team selection in program history, finished the season averaging a team-best 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds and ranked second on the team in steals (2.0) and blocks (23). Hansen, who holds a 3.95 GPA in chemistry and sits seventh all-time in scoring in program history with 884 points, wrapped up the year ranked in the top-15 in the A-Sun in six categories (points, rebounds, FG Pct., FT Pct., steals, blocks). The redshirt-sophomore scored in double figures 25 times this season, leading the Eagles in scoring in 15 contests, including eight of the last 10 games.

Senior Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./ Moorhead HS) earned all-conference honors for the first time in her career, being named to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference second team. She also was named to the A-Sun’s All-Tournament team as FGCU captured the tourney title in Macon. Jacobson was third on the team in scoring, with 9.7 points per game in 2011-12, and led the team in three-point field goals made (81). She ended her FGCU career with 1,263 career points, ranking 2nd in school history, and she finishes first on the FGCU and A-Sun career lists in three-point field goals made with 330. Her 330 career triples rank her 13th in NCAA Division I history.

Freshman Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds HS) averaged 8.0 points and 3.8 rebounds and had 54 blocks in an average of just 17.1 minutes during her rookie season. The Winston-Salem native, who earned A-Sun All-Freshmen team and All-Tournament honors, ranked 2nd in the A-Sun with 1.7 blocks per game (54 total). Knight’s 1.7 blocks ranked her 65th in the nation, while her 54 blocks rank her 2nd in FGCU history behind Robyn Swain (121).

Follow FGCU athletics on Twitter (@FGCUEagles) to get updates on FGCU women’s basketball. The Eagles are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fgcuwbb.