@FGCU_WBB Earns No. 12 Seed, Set to Face No. 5 Oklahoma State Saturday Morning
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
The Eagles will play in their second NCAA Tournament in three years   Photo Credit: Justin Kane
The Eagles will play in their second NCAA Tournament in three years Photo Credit: Justin Kane

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s basketball team earned a no. 12 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament and will face no. 5 Oklahoma State in the first round of the tournament on Saturday, March 22 in West Lafayette, Ind.  The game will be broadcast live from Mackey Arena on the campus of Purdue University on ESPN2 and is scheduled for 11 a.m.

After earning their fourth-straight Atlantic Sun Regular Season title, the FGCU women’s basketball team captured the program’s second Atlantic Sun Conference Championship with a 72-70 overtime victory over Stetson on Sunday afternoon.  With the win, the Eagles earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

“I think we’re all excited to finally get the team we can prepare for,” said five-time Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year Karl Smesko.  “We don’t know a lot about Oklahoma State yet, besides the fact that they’re one of the best teams in the country, but we’ll find out more about them tonight and over the next couple of days and put in a game plan.  I think we’re all excited for the opportunity and especially excited to go to Indiana for this game.”

The Cowgirls enter the NCAA Tournament with a record of 23-8 after falling to Baylor 65-61 in the Big 12 Championship Tournament.  In two years with the program, head coach Jim Littell has guided the Cowgirls to a record of 45-19 and now two-consecutive NCAA Tournament berths.  As a no. 7 seed last season, the team defeated DePaul in the first round but fell to Duke to conclude the season.

This season, the Eagles and Cowgirls have faced similar opponents in South Florida and TCU.  Both teams defeated USF with OSU taking a 75-56 victory in December.  Oklahoma State defeated TCU twice this season in Big 12 action after the Eagles fell to TCU in the Puerto Vallarta Tournament of Hope in November.

The FGCU women will play in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years after earning a no. 12 seed in 2013.  The Eagles fell in overtime to no. 5 St. Bonaventure in Tallahassee in the program’s first ever postseason appearance.

The team currently holds an official NCAA RPI rating of 54 after finishing the regular season with a record of 23-7 and moving to 26-7 with three wins in the Atlantic Sun Championship.

The 2013-14 season marked the 10th-straight season that Smesko and the Eagles won at least 20 games.

All first round games of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship are scheduled to be played Saturday-Sunday, March 22-23 at regional sites around the country. 

The second round will be played at the same locations Monday and Tuesday, March 24-25 with the Regional rounds scheduled for March 29-30 and March 31-April 1 in four locations – Lincoln, Neb., Notre Dame, Ind., Louisville, Ky. and Stanford, Calif.   

The Women’s Final Four will be held in the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. April 6 and 8.

For more information on the FGCU women’s basketball team and the NCAA Tournament, stay tuned to FGCUAthletics.com and follow the official Twitter of FGCU women’s basketball at @FGCU_WBB.