DATE/TIME: Monday, March. 21, 2011/7:05 P.M. ET
SITE: Fort Myers, Fla. - Alico Arena (4,500)
LIVE STATS: FGCUATHLETICS.COM
LIVE VIDEO: ASUN.TV
LIVE AUDIO: ESPN 770 (770 AM); 770ESPN.COM
TALENT: Tom James (Play-by-Play), J Webb Horton (Analyst)
SERIES: Fourth Meeting; Florida leads 1-2
LAST MEETING: Nov. 14, 2008 - FGCU 88, UF 86 at Alico Arena
WITH A WIN: vs. Charlotte; Time, Date and Location TBD
The A-Sun regular season champion FGCU women’s basketball team returns to the court on Monday, March 21 to host the Gators of Florida in a WNIT second round matchup. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m., with the winner of the game taking on Charlotte in the third round.
SCOUTING THE GATORS
• Fourth-year head coach Amanda Butler is now 117-75 overall, 76-53 at Florida and holds a 4-3 record in postseason play at Florida. Butler has led the Gators to four consecutive postseason appearances in the WNIT.
• Florida’s 59-47 win over UMBC in the 1st round of the WNIT was the Gators 11th consecutive non-conference home victory. Jordan Jones led UF with a game-high 18 points and Florida’s defense held UMBC to four field goals in the second half as the Gators defeated the Retrievers on Friday to advance in the WNIT.
• Florida will enter Monday’s game with an overall record of 19-14. The Gators posted a SEC record of 7-9, finishing eighth in the final regular-season standings.
• Florida ended its regular season winning three consecutive SEC games, as the squad earned victories against Mississippi State, at Vanderbilt and at home against No. 22-ranked Georgia. The Gators then added one more win to its late-season win streak, defeating Arkansas, 68-59, in the first round of the SEC Tournament.
• The Gators are 3-9 on the road this season. In non-conference contests in 2010-11, UF is 12-5 overall, including 0-4 on the road.
• With an NCAA RPI of No. 43 (in the NCAA’s RPI listing as of March 7) and a strength of schedule rated No. 11 (through games played March 13), Florida was able to earn its 17th postseason berth in the last 19 years.
• This season marks the fifth appearance in the postseason WNIT since the event’s inception in 1998. The Gator’s best showing came in 2000 when they reached the final, falling to Wisconsin, 75-74, in the title game. Last year, UF lost in the second round at Miami, which advanced to the championship game. In 2008, the Gators reached the quarterfinals, where they lost at N.C. State. In 2005 Florida dropped a tough fi rst-round contest to USF in Tampa. The Gators also made an appearance in 1985 in the NWIT, which is no longer contested, reaching the national final.
• UF has a balanced attack with nine different Gators contributing at least 5.4 points per game and with 10 of the 12 players on the active roster averaging at least 13 minutes of playing time per contest.
EAGLES IN THE WNIT
FGCU has earned an automatic bid in four consecutive Postseason WNIT’s. The Eagles are 3-3 all-time in the WNIT, including 3-0 at home. Prior to Friday’s win over Drexel, the Blue and Green defeated George Washington (97-94 2OT; 08-09: WNIT 1st Rd) and USF (67-65; 07-08: WNIT 1st Rd) in Alico Arena.
FGCU VS. BCS OPPONENTS
FGCU is 5-8 all-time against BCS foes after picking up a wins over BIG EAST opponent Seton Hall, ACC foe Virginia Tech and Big Ten opponent Indiana this season. Four of the Eagles’ five wins over BCS opponents have come at Alico Arena.
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 73-67 win over Drexel (Mar. 18) bumped the Eagles home win streak to 42 games. FGCU’s 42-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 52.7 percent (37.6 points per game) of FGCU’s scoring. The trio is also shooting .443 (412-of-929) from the floor and .367 (173-of-472) from long distance.
WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE
FGCU has a 137-9 all-time record at home. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 59-3 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 59-3 record on their home court since moving to Division I, good for a .952 winning percentage and the highest all-time winning percentage at home. Tennessee, who has a .944 winning percentage (340-20), ranks second all-time in winning percentage at home (Thompson-Boling Arena).
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 31 games, FGCU leads the nation with an average of 10.9 threes per game, a whole trifecta in front of second place Fresno State (9.7). As a team, FGCU has drained double-digit threes in 15 games this season.
RANK TEAM 3-PT FG/GAME
1. FGCU, 10.9
2. Fresno State, 9.7
3. UT Martin, 8.9
4. Oregon, 8.5
THREE IS THE KEY
• The Eagles are 23-3 this season when shooting 23 or more three-pointers.
• The Blue and Green are 28-3 on the year when they drain five or more shots from beyond the arc.
• FGCU is 27-2 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 95 of her 112 made field goals coming from beyond the arc this season, junior Kelsey Jacobson ranks first in the A-Sun and is currently 8th in the nation at 3.1 treys per game. Jacobson has knocked down 95-of-246 three-pointers this season to also rank fifth in the league at a 38.6 clip. The Barnesville, Minn. native has made multi-threes in 26 of 31 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 339 threes this season compared to just 135 from its opponents. Led by junior Kelsey Jacobson’s 3.1 trifectas per contest, eight different players have made 10 or more shots from long range. Junior Eglah Griffin ranks first the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.401), while Shannon Murphy (2.1) ranks 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 9 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 91 career games, Jacobson has knocked down 248 three-pointers and on Feb. 7 vs. ETSU, she became FGCU’s all-time leader in three-pointers. Jacobson has made a three in 47 straight games, 64 of her last 65 contests and 86 of 91 for her career. During her career, Jacobson has made 3+ threes 42 times, 5+ threes on 14 occasions and a career-best of six three times.
In the program’s nine-year history (277) games, FGCU has made at least one three-pointer in 276 contests, including 164 straight. The last and lone time the Eagles didn’t knock down a three was February 21, 2006 at Lynn. During the current 164-game run, the Blue and Green have knocked down 1,570 money balls while their opponents have knocked down 805 threes. In games that it has drained double-digit threes, FGCU is 98-7 all-time and 53-5 since moving to Division I in 2007-08.
GRIFFIN CAN SHOOT WITH THE BEST OF ‘EM
Eglah Griffin’s three point percentage (.401) leads the team and Atlantic Sun, but it also ranks her among the nations best shooters. The junior, who has knocked down 61-of-152 three-point attempts, ranks 24th in the country in three-point percentage.
FGCU RANKED #8 IN MID-MAJOR POLL
The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team remained in the No. 8 spot in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Women’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll. This is the second consecutive week that the Blue and Green have been ranked No. 8.
The Eagles, the nation’s leader in three-pointers made per game (11.0), are the lone Atlantic Sun Conference team represented in this week’s Mid-Major Top 25.
For 2nd time since moving to Division I in 2007-08, FGCU captured a regular-season championship. The Eagles won the A-Sun with a 17-3 record against conference competition.
The Blue and Green won their first league regular-season title in 2008-09 with a 17-3 conference record The Eagles finished the season 26-5 and lost to eventually champion USF (88-81 OT) in the second round of the WNIT in Tampa, Fla.
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. (.530) and rebounds (5.9 rpg) and scoring (13.4 ppg). The redshirt-freshman’s .530 shooting percentage leads the A-Sun and ranks her 30th in the nation.
FGCU IN MARCH
• FGCU has an all-time record of 20-5 in games played in the month of March.
• Since moving to Division I in 2007-08 the Eagles hold an 12-3 record in the month of March.
With three players averaging double figure points and three more at 7.4 points per game or higher, FGCU is second the A-Sun in scoring at a 71.4 per game clip. The Eagles have scored 73 or more points 16 times this season and are the only A-Sun team with a scoring margin larger than three-points (+14.6). Five different players have led the Blue and Green in scoring this season, led by 10 from freshman Sarah Hansen, eight from senior Shannon Murphy and six from juniors Eglah Griffin and 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 didn’t reach 20 points at the half.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
Already shooting at an A-Sun-best 42.7 percent from the field, FGCU sports the conference’s lowest turnover per game rate at 13.9. The Eagles have +5.94 turnover margin which is also best in the A-Sun. Junior Courtney Chihil, who is eighth in the A-Sun in assists (3.84), leads the conference in assist/turnover ratio at +1.89. Senior Shannon Murphy is right behind Chihil in second place with a +1.49 ratio while ranking fifth in the A-Sun at 4.23 assists per game.
In 917 minutes of action this season, Kelsey Jacobson has launched 289 shots and assisted on 74 field goals, while turning the ball over just 37 times.