Smesko Earns 300th Career Victory as Eagles Defeat USC Upstate 77-53
Monday, December 19, 2011 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Photo Credit: Dennis Snyder
Photo Credit: Dennis Snyder
UPST (1-10, 0-2 A-Sun)
Florida Gulf Coast (7-1, 2-0 A-Sun)
12/19/2011 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 1236
Florida Gulf Coast383977
Stats at a GlanceUPSTFGCU
FG Percentage.432 (19-44) .451 (23-51)
3P FG Percentage.333 (3-9) .440 (11-25)
FT Percentage.750 (12-16) .690 (20-29)
Offensive Rebounds76
Defensive Rebounds2318
Total Rebounds3024
Bench Points2527
Statistical LeadersUPSTFGCU
PointsOHL - 15
ReboundsZAVECKAITE - 9
AssistsSMITH - 5
StealsCOPNEY - 3

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Sophomore Sarah Hansen (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane HS) scored a game-high 23 points as the FGCU women’s basketball team gave Coach Karl Smesko his 300th career victory with a 77-53 win over USC Upstate in front of 1,236 fans on Monday night at Alico Arena.

With the win, FGCU improves to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play, while the Spartans fall to 1-10 (0-2 A-Sun) on the season. The win also gave Smesko win No. 300 of his 13-year career as a head coach. He is now 300-74 all-time, including 239-47 at FGCU.

The Green and Blue, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (12.8), knocked down 11 trifectas on the night. Seven different players made at least one trey for the Eagles, including four players that hit multiple triples.

Hansen poured in a season-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from behind the arc. Seniors Nicoya Jackson (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS/Southwestern Christian) and Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS) chipped in nine points and three assists each. Freshman Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds HS) finished with eight points, four rebounds and two steals, while senior Eglah Griffin (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar HS/Seminole CC) tallied eight points, four steals and three boards. Making her FGCU debut, junior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) scored six points and dished six assists in 26 minutes.

Hannah Ohl led the Spartans with 15 points in 29 minutes. Tee’Ara Copney, the A-Sun’s leading scorer, was limited to just three points on 1-of-8 shooting from the floor.

The Eagles jumped on Upstate early, using a 25-4 run, highlighted by 10 points from Hansen, to grab a commanding lead with 9:00 left in the opening half. The Spartans cut the FGCU lead to 15 points (25-10) with 6:52 left in the half, but the Green and Blue closed the half on a 13-6 run to take a 38-16 lead into the intermission.

The Spartans were held to 5-of-20 (25 percent) shooting from the field and 0-of-4 from behind the arc in the first half.

FGCU hit 12-of-24 (50 percent) shots from the floor in the first half, including 6-of-12 (50 percent) from long distance.

In the second half, FGCU continued to dominate the Spartans, increasing their lead to as many as 28 points, before picking up the 77-53 win.

The Eagles return to the court on Wednesday, Dec. 21 when they host the Hokies of Virginia Tech (3-7 overall). Tip is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.