No. 1 Eagles Set to Battle No. 5 Kennesaw State for a Trip to the A-Sun Title Game
Thursday, March 01, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
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Photo Credit: ASunPhotos.com
Photo Credit: ASunPhotos.com
Kennesaw State (14-17 (8-10ASun))
at
Florida Gulf Coast (28-2 (18-0 ASun))
3/2/2012 | Macon, Ga. - University Center | Attendance: 0
1st2ndFinal
Kennesaw State223153
Florida Gulf Coast344276
Stats at a GlanceKSUFGCU
FG Percentage.449 (22-49) .481 (25-52)
3P FG Percentage.000 (0-6) .550 (11-20)
FT Percentage.643 (9-14) .833 (15-18)
Offensive Rebounds1111
Defensive Rebounds1820
Total Rebounds2931
Turnovers1812
Steals711
Bench Points420
Statistical LeadersKSUFGCU
PointsWELLS - 16
HANSEN - 18
ReboundsFARRAR - 8
HANSEN - 7
AssistsCAPELLAN - 5
CHIHIL - 5
StealsWELLS - 5
HANSEN - 3
KENNEDY - 3
BlocksGIDEON - 1
BOLDEN - 1
KNIGHT - 1

MACON, Ga. – The Eagles, who have won 19 consecutive games and have the seventh best win-loss percentage in the nation, will look to continue their winning ways when they take on No. 5 Kennesaw State in the semifinal round of the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament at Mercer’s University Center. No. 1 FGCU will take on No. 5 Owls on March 2 at 12:00 p.m. in a matchup that can be seen live on Comcast Sports South (CSS) or online at ASun.TV.

No. 1 FGCU (27-2, 18-0 A-SUN) vs. No. 5 KENNESAW St. (14-16, 8-10 A-SUN)
TOURNAMENT CENTRAL  

DATE: Friday, March 2, 2012
TIME: 12:00 P.M. ET
SITE: Macon, Ga. - University Center (3,200)
LIVE STATS: FGCUATHLETICS.com
TV: ASun.TV & Comcast Sports South
LIVE AUDIO: 770ESPN.COM
TALENT: David Moulton & Mark Miller
SERIES: FGCU leads 8-2
LAST MEETING: FGCU 58, KSU 51 at Alico Arena on Jan. 28, 2012
CURRENT STREAK: W 19
LAST 20: 19-1
LAST 25: 24-1
UP NEXT WITH A WIN: Sat., March 3 vs. winner of #2 Stetson vs. 6 Jacksonville in the A-Sun Championship Game @ noon

KNOW YOUR OPPONENT: #5 KENNESAW STATE OWLS
- Last Time Out - KSU 51, UNF 49 - A-Sun Quarterfinals

The Kennesaw State women’s basketball team picked up its first-ever Atlantic Sun Tournament victory in thrilling fashion with a 51-49 comeback win over North Florida.

A-Sun Freshman of the Year Taylor Mills hit back-to-back three pointers to cut the UNF lead to 47-43 with just under two minutes remaining in the contest. Kennesaw State would then go on to make it just a one point game after a Lisa Capellan free throw with 24 seconds left.

KSU trapped the inbounds pass and forced UNF’s Brittany Kirkland to turn the ball over to Mills, who scored a layup to give the Lady Owls their first lead since midway through the first half at 49-48. After a free throw by North Florida tied the game, Mills was fouled with two seconds left on a three-point attempt. She two of the three free throws to give KSU the lead, and they held on for the win after a Capellan steal.

Kennesaw State closed the game on a 14-4 run and Mills accounted for 10 of those points. Mills led all scorers with 16 points and five rebounds, while Gideon also had a solid game finishing with nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

FGCU NOTES
LAST TIME OUT: Huge Second Half Run Lifts No.1 FGCU Over No.8 ETSU in A-Sun Quarterfinal

Behind a 17-0 run to open the second half, the No. 28 FGCU women’s basketball team opened its first-ever appearance in the Atlantic Sun Tournament with a 79-63 win over eighth-seeded ETSU in the quarterfinals held Wednesday afternoon at the University Center. • With their 19th straight win, the top-seeded Eagles (27-2) move on to play the winner of fourth-seeded North Florida and fifth-seeded Kennesaw State on Friday, March 2 and noon. It marked the Blue and Green’s sixth straight win over the Lady Bucs (8-22), including three this season. • Redshirt sophomore and A-Sun All-Conference first team choice Sarah Hansen led the way for FGCU with her third straight and ninth 20-point game of the season. Hansen poured in a game-high 22 points, highlighted by 14 in the second half, on 9-of-16 from the floor to go along with six rebounds and a career-high four blocks. • The Eagles, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (10.8), knocked down 9-of-26 shots from behind the arc and now have 313 triples as a team. FGCU is now just 28 triples away from breaking the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (340), which is currently held by the 2009-10 Morehead St. team. • After getting out-rebounded by a 47-31 margin just five days ago in Johnson City, Tenn. that included 26 ETSU offensive rebounds, FGCU dominated the glass in this meeting. The Eagles finished with a commanding 43-30 advantage on the boards, while limiting the league’s second-best offensive rebounding team (16.7) to just eight second chance boards.

UP NEXT
If the No. 1 Eagles win their semifinal contest with No. 5 Kennesaw St., the Green and Blue will then take on the winner of No. 2 Stetson vs. No. 6 Jacksonville in the championship game on Saturday, Mar. 3 at 12:00 p.m.

PICKIN’ UP POSTSEASON HARDWARE
After winning the Atlantic Sun regular season championship for the third time in five years, the FGCU women’s basketball team earned a few more honors on Monday, Feb. 27. The conference announced their postseason honors and awards, with FGCU taking home four awards.

FGCU earned its fifth first team (first unanimous) selection in program history as Sarah Hansen followed up her second team selection last season by averaging a team-best 13.8 points and 6.3 rebounds and ranking second on the Eagles in steals (1.9) and blocks (17). Hansen, who sits eighth all-time in scoring in program history with 813 points, also ranked in the top-15 in the A-Sun in six categories (points, rebounds, FG Pct., FT Pct., steals, blocks). The redshirt-sophomore, who also earned A-Sun Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, scored in double figures 21 times this season, leading the Eagles in scoring in 11 contests.

Senior Kelsey Jacobson, the nation’s leader (among active players) in career three-point makes, earned second team All-Atlantic Sun honors, helping the Eagles secure their ninth 21-plus win season in the 10 year program history. Jacobson, who led the A-Sun in three-pointers made per game (2.7), picked up postseason honors for the first time since her freshman year (2008-09), when she earned A-Sun Freshman of the Year and All-Freshmen team. The biology major scored in double figures 16 times this season and has made multi-threes in 18 of 28 games this season.

Freshman Whitney Knight, the team leader in blocks, was selected to the All-Freshmen team. In A-Sun games, Knight ranked in the top-5 (among freshmen) in three categories (points, FG Pct.,blocks). The frosh tallied 3+ blocks on 10 occasions this season.

Senior Courtney Chihil, top five in several statistical categories in program history and a 3.97 GPA student-athlete, earned a selection to the A-Sun Academic All-Conference team.

FGCU’s Karl Smesko claimed a regular season conference crown for the third time in the program’s existence as his squad amassed a perfect 18-0 conference mark earning him Coach of the Year.

A-SUN TOURNEY HISTORY
Making its first A-Sun postseason appearance in its first year of postseason eligibility, FGCU looks to be only the third team in Atlantic Sun history to win the Atlantic Sun Championship in its first appearance. Lipscomb (2004) and Miami (1991) were the only other schools to win in their first appearance.

FGCU IN MARCH
• FGCU has an all-time record of 20-6 in games played in March.
• Since moving to Division I in 2007-08 the Eagles hold an 12-4 record in the month of March; 1-0 vs. A-Sun competition

AWAY FROM HOME
FGCU has an 89-28 all-time record as the visiting team. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 45-21 road record.

NEUTRAL SITE GAMES
Since moving to Division I in 2007-08, the Green and Blue have compiled a 10-2 record in neutral site contests. FGCU’s two neutral site losses came at the hands of the BGSU Falcons (74-60) at the Cornell Classic in Ithaca, N.Y. on Nov. 30, 2007 and NC State (69-64) in Hawaii this season (Dec. 28).

EIGHT CONSECUTIVE 21-WIN SEASONS
The Eagles secured their eighth-straight 21+ win season with a 70-60 victory at JU (Feb. 4). The Green and Blue now have nine 21+ win seasons in program history. The lone year that the Eagles failed to win 21 games was during the 2003-04 campaign, when FGCU went 18-8.

Over the last eight seasons, the Eagles have accumulated 211 wins and 39 losses.

3-TIME A-SUN REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS
FGCU captured the program’s third A-Sun Regular Season crown with their 79-56 win over Stetson (Feb. 18). The Eagles’ other two regular-season championships came in 2010-11 and 2008-09. FGCU finished both the 2010-11 and 2008-09 campaigns with a 17-3 record in A-Sun play.

The Eagles have won 13+ A-Sun games in five straight seasons. FGCU is 82-12 in conference play over the last five years and has won 45 of its last 50 Atlantic Sun regular season games over the past three seasons.

LOCK IT UP
FGCU clinched the program’s first spot in the A-Sun Tournament with a 58-51 win over Kennesaw State on Jan. 28.

With their 79-56 win over Stetson (Feb. 18), the Eagles secured the outright A-Sun Regular Season title and the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Sun Tournament.

HISTORY BUFFS
With their win over the Lady Bucs on Sat. Feb. 25, the Eagles became just the third team (second school) to go undefeated in A-Sun play. FIU completed the feat twice as a member of the A-Sun (1992-93 & 1995-96).

The win also gave FGCU 18 A-Sun wins on the year, which tied the 2009-10 ETSU Lady Bucs squad for the most conference victories in a season.

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
In their last 10 games, FGCU held their opponents to just 55, 51, 61, 60, 54, 34, 56, 63, 64 and 63 points, respectively. The Eagles, who lead the conference in scoring defense (53.1 ppg), have held opponents below 65 points 26 times this season, while also holding this year’s opponents below 55 points or fewer on 16 occasions.

HANDLING BUSINESS IN ROAD CONFERENCE GAMES
FGCU went 9-0 in A-Sun road contests this season, defeating every conference opponent on their home court.

The Eagles won the games by an average of 17.1 points and shot 45.0 percent (225-of-500) from the floor and 36.4 percent (82-of-225) from behind the arc, while the opposition is shooting 192-of-476 (40.3 percent) from the field and 37-of-117 (31.6 percent) from three-point range.

CAPITAL 1 ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT 4 FIRST TEAM
Courtney Chihil and Sarah Hansen were named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District 4 Women’s Basketball first team (Feb. 2), as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Members of CoSIDA conduct nominations and voting for the All-America programs.

The District 4 team is made up of student-athletes from Division I schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and South Carolina. 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 or higher.

Chihil and Hansen are now eligible to be selected as members of the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first, second and third team All-America honorees will be selected at the end of February.

ALL WE DO IS WIN
Since joining the A-Sun in 2007-08, the Eagles have 127 victories, which ranks them first all-time in conference history for wins in a 5-year span. The previous record (125) was held by FIU (1994-98).

The Green and Blue also have 55 wins over the last two seasons and now own the best 2-year win total in conference history. The Eagles’ 52 wins from 2009-11 and FIU’s 52 wins from 1993-95 now rank second in A-Sun history.

WE ARE...FGCU
Finishing the regular season 18-0 in A-Sun action, FGCU is one of eight teams in the nation that are undefeated in conference play (Delaware, St. Bonaventure, Baylor, Princeton, Stanford, American, Middle Tenn.). Also, with a 27-2 overall record, the Eagles are one of five 27+ win teams in the nation (thru games played on Feb. 29).

BEATING DEFENDING CONFERENCE CHAMPS
The Eagles have picked up a trio of wins over defending conference champs so far this season.

The Green and Blue knocked off defending Big 10 champ Michigan State, 59-58, at Alico Arena in the 2011-12 home opener on Nov. 19. FGCU then went on the road and defeated defending Conference USA champ UCF, 75-36, at UCF Arena (Dec. 8) and defending A-Sun champ Stetson, 59-55, at the Edmunds Center (Jan. 21) and 79-56, at Alico Arena (Feb. 18).

GET THAT OUTTA HERE
Whitney Knight ranks 2nd in the A-Sun with 1.7 blocks per game (49 total blocks). Her 1.7 blocks rank her t-65th in the nation (as of Feb. 23), while her 49 blocks rank her 2nd in FGCU history behind Robyn Swain (121).

PESKY DEFENDER
Brittany Kennedy leads the Eagles in steals and is second on the team in rebounds. The Oregon State transfer also ranked 2nd in the conference in steals (in A-Sun Reg Season games) and has registered a steal in 18 of 22 games she has played in.

Kennedy has also shown flashes of being a lock-down defender. She held A-Sun leading scorer Briana Williams (Mercer) to 3pts and 7pts in their two meetings and forced 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year Victoria McGowan (Stetson) into 12 TOs in two games.

LEAVING A MARK ON THE FGCU RECORD BOOKS
Courtney Chihil has scored 981 points, made 117 three-pointers, grabbed 595 rebounds, recorded 197 steals and dished out 320 assists in her four-year career in the FGCU Blue and Green.

She is currently at or near the top five in all five of those categories:

Points
1. 1415 - Adrianne MCNALLY (128 games) - 2006-10
2.   1248 - Kelsey JACOBSON (121 games) - 2008-Present
3. 1185 - Shannon MURPHY (124 games) - 2007-11
4. 1062 - Kate SCHRADER (65 games) - 2005-07
5. 981 - Courtney CHIHIL (117 games) - 2008-Present

3-point field goals made
1.   325 - Kelsey JACOBSON (121 games) - 2008-Present

5. 133 - Jen CONELY (66 games) - 2005-07
6.   117 - Courtney CHIHIL (117 games) - 2008-Present

Rebounds
1. 658 - Adrianne MCNALLY (240o-418d) - 2006-10
2. 640 - Robyn SWAIN (236o-404d) - 2002-04
3.   595 - Courtney CHIHIL (182o-413d) - 2008-Present

Steals
1.   197 - Courtney CHIHIL - 2008-Present

2.  168 - Shannon MURPHY - 2007-11

Assists
1. 419 - Shannon MURPHY - 2007-11
2. 338 - Megan JONES - 2002-05
3. 335 - Adrianne MCNALLY - 2006-10
4.   320 - Courtney CHIHIL - 2008-Present

THE BIG 3
Sarah Hansen, Nicoya Jackson, and Kelsey Jacobson have combined to account for 46 percent (34.5 points per game) of FGCU’s scoring. The trio is also shooting .438 (325-of-742) from the floor and .338 (125-of-370) from long distance

BALANCED ATTACK
With three players averaging double figure points and three more at 8.1 points per game or higher, FGCU is first the A-Sun in scoring at a 75.0 per game clip. The Eagles have scored 80 or more points eight times this season and are the only A-Sun team with a scoring margin larger than 6.0 points (+21.9). Six different players have led the Blue and Green in scoring this season, led by 12 from Sarah Hansen, six from Kelsey Jacobson, four from Eglah Griffin, and two from Nicoya Jackson, Courtney Chihil, Amber Rechis and Whitney Knight.

PROTECTING THE ROCK
Shooting an A-Sun-best 43.7 percent from the field, the Eagles lead the league with a +6.72 turnover margin. Courtney Chihil, who ranks 8th in the A-Sun in assists (3.1), leads the conference with a 1.93 assist/turnover ratio. Nicoya Jackson has a 1.63 ratio while also ranking 9th in the A-Sun at 2.6 assists per game.

BREAKING RECORDS
The FGCU women’s basketball team knocked down an all-time NCAA record and 2011-12 NCAA single-game high 21 three-pointers on 51 long range attempts in their 106-27 over NAIA foe Webber International on Nov. 28, 2011 at Alico Arena.  The Eagles’ 21 three-point ranks them tied for first place tie all-time with New Mexico State. The Aggies drained 21 triples against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 23, 2002. The 21 threes are also an A-Sun record, as FGCU made six treys in the first half and 15 in the second.

NATION’S BEST
FGCU’s three-point prowess has been the program’s calling card from day one and the 2011-12 version of the Eagles is no different. FGCU leads the nation with an average of 10.9 threes per game, nearly one trifecta in front of second place UT Martin (10.3). As a team, FGCU has drained double-digit threes in 16 games this season.

RANK   TEAM           3-PT FG/GAME
1.       FGCU                 10.9
2.       UT Martin           10.3
3.       Fresno State        9.8
4.       Youngstown State 9.6

THREE IS THE KEY
• The Eagles are 22-0 this season when shooting 23 or more three-pointers.
• The Green and Blue are 21-1 on the year when they drain eight or more shots from beyond the arc.
• FGCU is 26-2 this season when they knock down more three-point shots than their opponent.

GUNNIN’ FOR THE NCAA RECORD
The Eagles, who own the A-Sun’s single season record for three-pointers (350; 2010-11), are 28 triples away from breaking the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (340; 2009-10), which is currently held by Morehead St. FGCU’s 350 trifectas in 2010-11 weren’t a NCAA record because the Eagles were ineligible to set NCAA records due to the 4-year reclassifying period.

3’S PLEASE!
In the program’s nine-year history (307) games, FGCU has made at least one three-pointer in 306 contests, including 194 straight. The last and lone time the Eagles didn’t knock down a three was February 21, 2006 at Lynn. During the current 194-game run, the Green and Blue have knocked down 1,894 money balls while their opponents have knocked down 899 threes. In games that it has drained double-digit threes, FGCU is 115-8 all-time and 70-6 since moving to Division I in 2007-08.

RAPID FIRE
Surrounding its opponents with a balanced scoring attack, FGCU has knocked down 313 threes this season compared to just 93 from its opponents. Led by Kelsey Jacobson’s 2.6 trifectas per contest, six different players have made 31 or more shots from long range. The Eagles have four players ranked in the A-Sun’s top-15 in 3-point field goals made per game.

A-SUN ALL-TIME LEADER
Kelsey Jacobson now has 325 career triples and sits alone as the A-Sun’s all-time leader in career three-pointers.  The previous record holder was former Stetson Hatter Kristen Follis (275; 1990-94).

MAKING A LIVING FROM LONG RANGE
It’s no secret that Kelsey Jacobson is FGCU’s top three-point threat. Through 121 career games, Jacobson has knocked down 325 three-pointers and on Feb. 7, 2011 vs. ETSU, she became FGCU’s all-time leader in three-pointers in just three seasons. Jacobson, who currently holds the Atlantic Sun record for three-pointers in a season (96), has made a three in 90 of her last 95 contests and 112 of 121 for her career. During her career, Jacobson has made 3+ threes 52 times, 5+ threes on 17 occasions and a career-best of eight twice.

Ranking 1st in the A-Sun and22nd in the nation at 2.6 treys per game, 76 of Jacobson’s 91 made field goals this season have come from beyond the arc. The Barnesville, Minn. native has made multi-threes in 18 of 28 games this season.

HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE THE COMPETITION
Kelsey Jacobson has 325 career three-pointers made. She currently ranks 1st in the nation (among active players) in career three-pointers with St. Bonaventure senior Jessica Jenkins (321).

AMONG THE BEST
With at least 2 games remaining in her collegiate career, Kelsey Jacobson is on pace to finish with 330 career three-pointers made, which would rank her t-13th in NCAA Division I history.

FGCU RANKED #3 IN MID-MAJOR POLL
The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team earned the No. 3 spot, for the sixth consecutive week, in this week’s version of the CollegeInsider.com Women’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll that was released on Tuesday evening (Feb. 21). Delaware and Green Bay are the two teams ranked higher than FGCU in this week’s poll. The Eagles trail the Phoenix by 31 points for the No. 2 slot.

The Mid-Major Poll is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast Conference.

PICKIN’ UP VOTES IN THE NATIONAL POLLS
The FGCU women’s basketball team received 17 votes to rank No. 28 in this week’s USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches’ Poll that was released on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The Eagles also received eight votes to rank No. 32 in this week’s AP Top 25 that was released on Monday, Feb. 27.

This marks the 10th time in program history that the Eagles have earned votes in both polls in the same week.

GETTIN’ LOVE FROM ESPN
In the fifth edition (Feb. 13) of the mid-major top 10 written by ESPN’s Graham Hayes, the Eagles picked up the No. 4 spot. The mid-major top 10 returns with the same ground rules. All conferences beyond the BCS six (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) qualify for consideration.

Here’s what Hayes said about FGCU:
4. Florida Gulf Coast -
Since a five-point loss against NC State in Hawaii on Dec. 28, Florida Gulf Coast has won 15 in a row, 12 of those games by double digits. That probably says something about both the Eagles and the Atlantic Sun, but if the past week in women’s college basketball proved anything, it’s that winning isn’t ever a given. Florida Gulf Coast hit just two 3-pointers in Saturday’s win against Belmont, missing 17 shots from the arc, but such shooting woes for the nation’s most prolific 3-point shooting team don’t matter much when you limit the league’s third-place team to 34 points and 31 percent shooting.

Mechelle Voepel in her Feb. 24 blog entry mentioned head coach Karl Smesko as a candidate for national coach of the year.

Here’s what Voepel said about Smesko:
Florida Gulf Coast’s Karl Smesko:
He has the Eagles soaring in the first season they are eligible for the Division I NCAA tournament. They are 25-2 overall and 17-0 in the Atlantic Sun.

RATING PERCENTAGE INDEX (RPI)
In the Collegiate Basketball News Women’s RPI College Basketball Ratings (for games through Feb. 19), the Eagles were ranked No. 65 and were the only A-Sun school ranked in the top 100.