FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU women’s basketball program will welcome a pair of opponents from BCS conferences to Alico Arena in 2010-11 when the Eagles host BIG EAST member Seton Hall and Big Ten affiliate Indiana in Fort Myers.
The Blue and Green will face the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. on Nov. 12, in the season-opener for both teams, and will host the Hoosiers on Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the back-end of a doubleheader after the men’s team hosts N.C. Central.
“I’m happy that we are able to keep the tradition of having exciting home openers,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “It would be great to have 3,000+ fans for our opener against Seton Hall. Another highlight is to have the Indiana Hoosiers at Alico Arena. We are going to have a great home schedule for our supporters in Southwest Florida.”
The Pirates and Hoosiers will be the fourth and fifth BCS opponents that have visited Alico Arena in the program’s brief three-year Division l history. FGCU is currently 2-1 at home all-time against BCS foes with its most recent meeting coming in the form of an 88-86 win over Florida in the season-opener of the 2008-09 season. FGCU also defeated USF in the opening round of the 2008 WNIT and fell to Florida State in the season opener of the 2007-08 campaign.
The remainder of the women’s 2010-11 schedule is expected to be released by September.
Seton Hall finished last season with a 9-21 overall record, but the Pirates will have a new look 2010-11, as they will be led by first-year head coach Anne Donovan. Donovan, one of the most decorated figures in women’s basketball history, is currently the head coach of the WNBA's New York Liberty and is the only female head coach to win a WNBA title (Seattle Storm, 2004). The former head coach of the USA Women’s Basketball Senior National Team, Donovan, who owns a remarkable 132-10 (.930) all-time record on the sidelines for USA Basketball, led the 2008 USA National Team to gold in Beijing and as a result was chosen with Mike Krzyzewski as co-recipient of the 2008 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award. Donovan also helped USA capture gold at the Olympics in 1998 and 2004 as an assistant coach. The NCAA's all-time shot block leader (801), Donovan led Old Dominion to the NCAA Final Four in 1983 en route to being named the first female recipient of the Naismith College Player of the Year award.
The Hoosiers, who finished 14-16 overall (7-11 Big Ten) last season and fell to Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, make a visit to Fort Myers before the Christmas break. Indiana returns leading scorer Jori Davis (16.7 points per game), who earned second team All-Big Ten honors a season ago.
FGCU wrapped up the 2009-10 season with a 24-7 overall record (17-3 A-Sun) and earned the program’s third straight automatic bid to the Postseason WNIT, while also securing the seventh 21-plus win season in the eight-year program history. The Eagles lost, 70-57, to eventual WNIT runner-up Miami.
FGCU returns seven players, including three starters from last year’s squad that went 14-0 at Alico Arena, bumping the current home win streak up to 24 games. Senior Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS), a 2010 Atlantic Sun All-Conference second team performer, is the Blue and Green’s top returning scorer (10.7 ppg). FGCU’s top rebounder (6.2 rpg) and three-point threat (41.3-percent) junior Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS) is another full-time returning starter, while junior Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla./Seminole CC) made 15 starts and averaged 7.6 points per contest in 2009-10.
Single-game and season tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through the FGCU Ticket Office in Alico Arena either in person or by phone at (239) 590-7145. Tickets are also available on www.FGCUathletics.com/tickets.