FGCUAthletics.com
@FGCU_WBB Set to Conclude Home Stand Against USC Upstate on Saturday
Friday, January 10, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
photo credit: Linwood Ferguson
photo credit: Linwood Ferguson
USC Upstate (6-9 (1-3 A-Sun))
at
FLORIDA GULF COAST (9-6 (3-0 A-Sun))
1/11/2014 | Alico Arena - Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 1630
1st2ndFinal
USC Upstate192645
FLORIDA GULF COAST363672
Stats at a GlanceUPSTFGCU
FG Percentage.293 (17-58) .349 (22-63)
3P FG Percentage.182 (2-11) .231 (9-39)
FT Percentage.500 (9-18) .576 (19-33)
Offensive Rebounds1013
Defensive Rebounds3537
Total Rebounds4550
Turnovers2315
Steals617
Bench Points3025
Statistical LeadersUPSTFGCU
PointsCLENCY - 11
KNIGHT - 12
COBB - 12
ReboundsHICKS - 11
MEADOR - 8
AssistsBOGLE - 1
CLENCY - 1
HICKS - 1
STARLING - 1
DUNSON - 4
StealsHICKS - 2
COBB - 5
BlocksKNIGHT - 4

USC Upstate (6-8 | 1-2 Atlantic Sun) at FGCU (8-6 | 2-0 Atlantic Sun)
Saturday, Jan. 11 | 7 p.m. | Alico Arena
Video: ESPN3
Live Stats: Statbroadcast via FGCUAthletics.com
Twitter: @FGCU_WBB
Game Notes: FGCU |  USC Upstate |  Atlantic Sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After five-straight games in the friendly confines of Alico Arena, the FGCU women’s basketball team will finish the three-week home stand against USC Upstate on Saturday night.  Tipoff in the Atlantic Sun contest is scheduled for 7 p.m.  The game can be viewed live and free of charge on ESPN3 with David Moulton and J. Webb Horton on the air.

THE GREEN & BLUE

The defending regular season champion Eagles began conference play at 2-0 for the fifth-consecutive year and currently hold an overall record of 8-6 after defeating in-state rival Stetson and ETSU. 

As a team, the Eagles have scored 66.7 points per game this season, while allowing opponents to 65.6 points per contest.  Eagle foes have held the advantage on the glass through 14 games with a 41.1-33.2 margin, while the Eagles have maintained control of the ball with just 14.7 turnovers per game.  FGCU has forced 17.9 opponent turnovers per game this season but has allowed opponents to maintain a .410 shooting percentage.

Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of .398 this season with a .339 mark from 3-point range.  The team has made a combined 129 shots from long range, with an average of 9.3 per game to rank seventh among the NCAA’s 349 teams. 

THE STREAK

The Eagles will look to continue a 48-game win streak when they face USC Upstate on Saturday.  The team has won 48 consecutive Atlantic Sun games at Alico Arena since the 2007-08 season and currently holds an all-time home record of 57-1 in conference play. 

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) sits atop of the team statistics with an average of 14.3 points per game.  The captain also leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per game and 39 steals on the season.

Redshirt-Sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) adds 13.6 points per game and leads the team with 40 blocks.  Knight ranks among the top 15 nationally with 2.86 blocks per game and leads the Eagles with 34 made shots from long range.   Knight is averaging 20.5 points per game in the first two Atlantic Sun contests and has shot 53.8 percent from distance in those games.

Sophomore Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) has consistently led the Eagles this season and is currently averaging 12.6 points per contest. 

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’ starting five with 8.1 and 6.5 points per game, respectively.  Cobb leads the team with 35 assists on the year and has been a tremendous force on defense for the Eagles.

GAME DAY TWEETABLES

- The Eagles have made 3,271 3-pointers in 264 games for an average of over 9 per game through 12 years. #RainingThrees

- FGCU and USC Upstate have met on 11 occasions since both making the transition to Division I in 2007.  The Eagles hold a 9-2 advantage and have won four-straight games.

- FGCU’s starting five (Atwater, Cobb, Hansen, Haas, Knight) have averaged 83 percent of the team’s 66.7 points per game.

- Head Coach Karl Smesko picked up his 350th career win against FIU on Nov. 8. That’s a career record of 356-92 & a win percentage of .800.

- Hansen currently ranks 14th on the Atlantic Sun all-time scoring list with 1,639 career points.  The senior also ranks among the top 30 in rebounds with 741 career boards.

- It has been 1,829 days since the Eagles lost their last A-Sun game at Alico Arena.

LAST TIME OUT

Led by double-digit scoring performances from four separate players, the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated ETSU 73-58 Thursday night at Alico Arena.  The win extended the Eagles’ conference win streak to 38 games and improves the team’s overall conference record at home to 57-1 all time.

The Bucs and Eagles battled for the lead early in the game before Knight single-handedly put together a nine-point run to give the Eagles the lead midway through the first half.  The Eagles extended their lead to 10 points late in the half but allowed the Bucs to challenge them before the break.  Six quick points to open the second half gave the Green and Blue a momentum it would never give up.  The Eagles extended their lead to a game-high 25 points and ultimately earned a 73-58 victory.

Knight led all players with 21 points on the night, while Haas added 17.  The pair had each had seven made field goals with three made shots from long range.  Hansen and Atwater chipped in 16 and 14, respectively.  Haas and Hansen each added six rebounds to lead the team.

ALL-TIME MEETINGS

FGCU and USC Upstate have met 11 times since both teams made the jump to Division I status during the 2007-08 season.  The Eagles currently hold a 9-2 advantage in the win column and have outscored the Spartans by an average of 76.2 to 59.4 points per game.  The Eagles’ biggest win was a 102-53 victory over the Spartans in 2009.  The Eagles have never scored fewer than 70 points against Upstate and currently hold a four-game win streak.

LAST TIME AGAINST THE BUCS

Backed by five double-digit scorers, the Eagles defeated USC Upstate 72-49 on Feb. 9, 2013 at Alico Arena.  Hansen led the team with 15 points and seven rebounds.

SCOUTING THE VISITING TEAM

- The Spartans of USC Upstate travel to Fort Myers from Spartanburg, S.C. with a record of 6-8 on the year and a mark of 1-2 in Atlantic Sun play.  The Spartans recently dropped a 78-64 loss to Stetson after beginning the season with a loss to Northern Kentucky and win over Lipscomb.

- As a unit, the Spartans are averaging 64.5 points per game, while allowing foes to score 73.4 points per contest.  The team is shooting 37.6 percent from the field with a 25 percent clip from 3-point range.  The Upstate defense has held opponents to 40.4 percent from the floor and 30.3 percent from long range.  The team has pulled down 40.3 rebounds per game, while turning the ball over an average of 17.6 times.

- The group is led by 6-0 sophomore Brittany Starling, who averages 11.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.  The post player has converted 51.2 percent of shots this season but leads the team with 33 turnovers.   In Thursday’s game against the Hatters, USC Upstate saw strong performances from junior Shelby Hicks, junior Lauren Bogle and sophomore Brittany Clency.  After averaging 5.0 points through 13 games, Hicks led the team with 11 points, while the duo of Bogle and Clency each added 10 points in the team’s loss.

- The Spartans finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 12-18 and a conference record of 8-10 and missed the Atlantic Sun Championship tournament.  The team was selected to finish eighth in the Atlantic Sun in this year’s preseason poll.

PRESEASON PROSPECTUS

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.

With 97 points, the Eagles finished nine points ahead of defending A-Sun Tournament Champion Stetson in the coaches’ poll, while FGCU earned 327 points in the media poll.  The Green and Blue picked up seven of the league’s 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll and was voted as the top-ranked team 30 times by the media. 

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.  In six seasons of A-Sun action, the Eagles hold a record of 100-12.  The impressive mark includes a 36-game win streak in regular-season play that dates back to 2011 and a 45-game win streak at Alico Arena.

The Eagles also picked up numerous individual preseason awards with Hansen leading the way.  Hansen was named the Atlantic Sun Preseason Player of the Year, the Atlantic Sun Fan-Voted Preseason Player of the Year and the College Sports Madness Preseason Player of the Year.  Knight earned Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference nod, while Dunson was voted by the fans as the Defensive Preseason Player of the Year.  As the reigning A-Sun Coach of the Year, Smesko was named the Preseason Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness to begin this season.

UP NEXT

The Eagles will continue conference play on the road next weekend as they make the trip to Georgia to face Kennesaw State and Mercer.  The bout with Kennesaw State is slated for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16.

FOR MORE INFO

For all the details on Saturday's’s matchup check out:

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.