FORT MYERS, Fla. – Excitement is in the air as head coach Karl Smesko and his FGCU women’s basketball squad officially returned to the court to open preseason practices on Sunday night when they assembled at Alico Arena for their first official practice of the 2010-11 season.
The Eagles began their 2010-11 season at 7 p.m. Sunday night with a team meeting followed by a practice at 8 p.m. The team will take the court again five days a week leading up to their season opener against Seton Hall at Alico Arena on November 12.
Under the direction of ninth-year head coach Smesko, the 2010-11 edition of the Eagles return 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 returning starter, while junior Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar HS/Seminole CC) made 15 starts and averaged 7.6 points per contest in 2009-10.
“It’s good to have practice start because we have a lot of progress to make if we are going to have the type of season we hope to have,” said Smesko.
The Blue and Green will kick off the season by hosting the Pirates of Seton Hall at 7:05 p.m. on Nov. 12, in the season-opener for both teams. The Pirates will be the fourth BCS opponent to visit 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.
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.