The A-Sun regular season champion FGCU women’s basketball team returns to the court to this weekend to host the three-day Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Classic beginning on Friday, March 4. The Eagles play Seattle (7:30 p.m.) on Friday before facing Longwood (7:30 p.m.) on Saturday. FGCU closes out the classic against SIU Edwardsville at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday.
Live stats and live video for every FGCU contest will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.
WE’RE GOING STREAKING
FGCU has not lost a home game in Alico Arena since January 8, 2009 against East Tennessee State University. FGCU’s 70-54 win over UNF (Feb. 26) bumped the Eagles home win streak to 38 games. FGCU’s 38-game home winning streak is the third longest streak in the nation behind UConn and Stanford.
Sarah Hansen, Shannon Murphy and Kelsey Jacobson have combined to account for 52.6 percent (36.8 points per game) of FGCU’s scoring. The trio is also shooting .435 (355-of-816) from the floor and .351 (148-of-422) from long distance.
WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE
FGCU has a 133-9 all-time record at home. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 55-3 home record.
Alico Arena has become one of the most intimidating places for opposing teams in all of Division I women’s basketball. The Eagles have accumulated a 55-3 record on their home court since moving to Division I, good for a .948 winning percentage and the highest all-time winning percentage at home. Tennessee, who has a .944 winning percentage (339-20), ranks second all-time in winning percentage at home (Thompson-Boling Arena).
PICKIN’ UP POSTSEASON HARDWARE
After winning the Atlantic Sun regular season championship for the second time in four years, the FGCU women’s basketball team earned a few more honors on Tuesday. The conference announced their postseason honors and awards, with FGCU taking home four awards.
FGCU earned its fourth first team selection in program history as senior Shannon Murphy followed up her second team selection last season by averaging a team-best 4.3 assists and 2.1 steals and ranking second on the Eagles in scoring (12.3). Murphy, who sits second all-time in scoring in program history with 1,123 points, also ranked in the top-15 in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.335) and assist-to-turnover ratio (.1.50). The senior captain scored in double figures 20 times this season, leading the Eagles in scoring in eight contests.
Redshirt-freshman Sarah Hansen, a three-time A-Sun Newcomer of the Week and MVP of the 2010 Caribbean Challenge, earned second team All-Atlantic Sun and All-Freshmen team honors, helping the Eagles secure their eighth 21-plus win season in the nine year program history. Hansen, who led the A-Sun and ranked 38th in the nation in field goal percentage (.520), is the first freshman in FGCU history to lead the team in scoring (13.1) and rebounding (6.1). The chemistry major scored in double figures 19 times this season, led the Eagles in rebounding on 14 occasions and in scoring in nine contests.
FGCU’s Karl Smesko claimed a regular season conference crown for the second time in the program’s existence as his squad amassed a 17-3 conference mark earning him Coach of the Year. The Eagles, who own the nation’s third longest home winning streak (38 games), behind UConn and Stanford, have earned their fourth automatic WNIT bid in as many years of eligibility.
FGCU’s three-point prowess has been the program’s calling card from day one and the 2010-11 version of the Eagles is no different. Through 27 games, FGCU leads the nation with an average of 10.8 threes per game, a whole trifecta in front of second place Fresno State (9.8). As a team, FGCU has sunk double-digit threes in 15 games this season.
THREE IS THE KEY
• The Eagles are 21-3 this season when shooting 23 or more three-pointers.
• The Blue and Green are 24-3 on the year when they drain five or more shots from beyond the arc.
• FGCU is 24-2 in 2010-11 when they knock down more three-point shots than their opponent.
• Nine of the 11 players who have seen time this season have at least two threes.
LEADER OF THE PACK
With 80 of her 94 made field goals coming from beyond the arc this season, junior Kelsey Jacobson finished the regular season ranked first in the A-Sun (currently 11th in the nation) at 2.96 treys per game. Jacobson has knocked down 80-of-216 three-pointers this season to also rank eighth in the league at a 37.0 clip. The Barnesville, Minn. native has made multi-threes in 23 of 27 games, highlighted by a 6-of-7 night against FIU that tied a career-high for makes.
Surrounding its opponents with a balanced scoring attack, FGCU has knocked down 292 threes this season compared to just 111 from its opponents. Led by junior Kelsey Jacobson’s 2.96 trifectas per contest, eight different players have made 10 or more shots from long range. Junior Eglah Griffin finished the regular season first the A-Sun in three point percentage (.414), while Shannon Murphy (2.04) ranked 8th in the conference in 3-pointers made per game. FGCU is the only team in the A-Sun with three players in the top 8 in three-pointers made.
MAKING A LIVING FROM LONG RANGE
It’s no secret that junior Kelsey Jacobson is FGCU’s top three-point threat. Through 87 career games, Jacobson has knocked down 233 three-pointers and on Feb. 7 vs. ETSU, she became FGCU’s all-time leader in three-pointers. Jacobson has made a three in 43 straight games, 60 of her last 61 contests and 82 of 87 for her career. During her career, Jacobson has made 3+ threes 41 times, 5+ threes on 12 occasions and a career-best of six three times.
In the program’s nine-year history (273) games, FGCU has made at least one three-pointer in 272 contests, including 160 straight. The last and lone time the Eagles didn’t knock down a three was February 21, 2006 at Lynn. During the current 160-game run, the Blue and Green have knocked down 1,523 money balls while their opponents have knocked down 781 threes. In games that it has drained double-digit threes, FGCU is 96-7 all-time and 51-5 since moving to Division I in 2007-08.
GRIFFIN CAN SHOOT WITH THE BEST OF ‘EM
Eglah Griffin’s three-point percentage (.414) leads the team and Atlantic Sun, but it also ranks her among the nations best shooters. The junior, who has knocked down 58-of-140 three-point attempts, ranks 25th in the country in three-point percentage.
FGCU RANKED #6 IN MID-MAJOR POLL
The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team remained in the No. 6 position in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Women’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll. The Eagles, the nation’s leader in three-pointers made per game (10.8), are the lone Atlantic Sun Conference team represented in this week’s Mid-Major Top 25.
ALLOW ME TO REINTRODUCE MYSELF
Sarah Hansen signed with FGCU on April 27, 2009, but utilized a redshirt during the 2009-10 season. Hansen took all of last season to work on her game and become acclimated and comfortable in Coach Smesko’s offense and it’s paying dividends in 2010-11.
Hansen currently ranks first on the team in field goal pct. (.520) and rebounds (6.1 rpg) and scoring (13.1 ppg). The redshirt-freshman’s .520 shooting percentage led the A-Sun during the regular season and ranks her 38th in the nation.
FGCU IN MARCH
• FGCU has an all-time record of 16-5 in games played in the month of March.
• Since moving to Division I in 2007-08 the Eagles hold an 8-3 record in the month of March.
With three players averaging double figure points and two more at 8.4 points per game or higher, FGCU is third the A-Sun in scoring at a 69.9 per game clip. The Eagles have scored 73 or more points 12 times this season and are the only A-Sun team with a scoring margin larger than three-points (+13.7). Five different players have led the Blue and Green in scoring this season, led by nine from freshman Sarah Hansen, eight from senior Shannon Murphy, six from junior Eglah Griffin and four from junior Kelsey Jacobson.
GET READY, GET SET GO!
During its 17-3 record in A-Sun play, FGCU has got out of the gates quick to take control of the game. Over the first 20 minutes in each of their conference games, the Eagles outscored their opponents 722-534. Fueling that big differential is the fact that FGCU shot 43.7 percent (264-604) from the floor, while limiting their opponents to 36.3 percent (201-553) clip with 207 turnovers. Senior Shannon Murphy and redshirt freshman Sarah Hansen did the most damage individually in the first half, averaging 8.4 points and 8.3 points, respectively, by the break. Three of FGCU’s 15 A-Sun opponents haven’t reached 20 points at the half.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
Already shooting at an A-Sun-best 41.8 percent from the field, FGCU sports the conference’s lowest turnover per game rate at 14.3. The Eagles have +6.30 turnover margin which is also best in the A-Sun. Junior Courtney Chihil, who is ninth in the A-Sun in assists (3.74), leads the conference in assist/turnover ratio at +1.66. Senior Shannon Murphy is right behind Chihil in second place with a +1.50 ratio while ranking fifth in the A-Sun at 4.33 assists per game.
In 793 minutes of action this season, Kelsey Jacobson has launched 249 shots and assisted on 61 field goals, while turning the ball over just 30 times.
CHIHIL PICKS UP ACADEMIC AWARD
Courtney Chihil was named to the 2010-2011 Capital One Academic All-District 3 Women’s Basketball first team (Feb. 3), as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
The District 3 team is made up of student-athletes from Division I schools in the states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. To be nominated, student-athletes must be at least a sophomore, a starter or important reserve, and must carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 GPA or higher.
Chihil is now eligible to be selected as a member of the 2011 Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first, second and third team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.
The Tipp City, Ohio native is joined on the Capital One Academic All-District 3 first team by Hampton’s Jericka Jenkins, Marissa Kastanek of NC State, Jasmine Thomas of Duke and Katie White of Coastal Carolina.
Chihil was one of only two Atlantic Sun players to receive district honors. Lipscomb’s Jenna Bartsokas was named to the All-District 3 first team.
MURPHY LEAVING A MARK ON THE FGCU RECORD BOOKS
Shannon Murphy has scored 1,123 points in her four-year career in the FGCU Blue and Green. She became the third 1,000-point scorer in program history on Sat. Feb. 5 vs. USC Upstate and now sits as the programs 2nd all-time leading scorer behind Adrianne McNally.
Murphy has also dished 403 assists and recorded 162 steals as an Eagle, which makes her the program’s all-time leader in those categories
1415 Adrianne McNally (128 games) - 2006-10
1123 Shannon Murphy (118 games) - 2007-Present
1062 Katie Schrader (65 games) - 2005-07
953 Candy Myers (87 games) - 2003-06
403 Shannon Murphy - 2007-Present
338 Megan Jones - 2002-05
335 Adrianne McNally - 2006-10
162 Shannon Murphy - 2007-Present
141 Candy Myers - 2003-06
137 Megan Jones - 2002-05