Smesko, Eagles Take NCAA Three-Point Shooting Crown
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Photo Credit: Dennis Snyder
Photo Credit: Dennis Snyder

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Highlighted by leading the nation and the Atlantic Sun in three-point field goals per game (10.7), the FGCU women’s basketball team ranked in the top 25 in the country in 13 different statistical categories in the final NCAA rankings.

The Eagles ranked 1st in the nation in triples per game (10.7), 4th in scoring margin (+21.2), 5th in win-loss percentage (.906) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.22), 7th in three-point field goal defense (.253), 8th in three-point percentage (.370) and turnover margin (6.34), 11th in assists per game (16.6), 12th in turnovers per game (13.6), 14th in scoring offense (74.4), 16th in scoring defense (53.3), 20th in field goal percentage and 25th in free-throw percentage (75.3). FGCU ranked No .1 in the A-Sun in 12 of the previously mentioned categories (3rd in free-throw percentage).

The Green and Blue, who own the A-Sun’s single season record for three-pointers (350; 2010-11), knocked down seven triples vs. St. Bonaventure in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to break the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (342). FGCU’s 350 trifectas in 2010-11 weren’t a NCAA record because the Eagles were ineligible to set NCAA records due to the four-year reclassifying period.

Five Eagles, Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS), Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./ Moorhead HS), Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio/Alter HS), Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) and Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds HS) rank in the top 75 of national NCAA Division I statistical leaders.
Hansen, a Full Court Mid-Major All-American Honorable Mention honoree, the A-Sun and DI-AAA ADA Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the A-Sun Tournament MVP, a Capital 1 Academic All-District 4 first team selection and FGCU’s fifth (first unanimous) All-Conference first team selection in program history, shot 52.4 percent from the field to rank 18th in the nation and second in the A-Sun.

Jacobson, who ranks first on the FGCU and A-Sun career lists in three-point field goals made (330), led the A-Sun in three-point field goals made per game (2.53) and seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.355). Ranking 1st in the A-Sun and 28th in the nation in treys per game, 81 of her 96 made field goals this season came from beyond the arc. The Barnesville, Minn. native, ranked 59th in the nation in three-point percentage, made multi-threes in 19 of 32 games this season.

Knight recorded 54 blocks during her rookie season. The Winston-Salem native, who earned A-Sun All-Freshmen team and All-Tournament honors, ranked 2nd in the A-Sun with 1.7 blocks per game. Knight’s 1.7 blocks ranked her 68th in the nation, while her 54 blocks rank her 2nd in FGCU history behind Robyn Swain (121).

Chihil (2.08) and Kennedy (1.78) were No. 1 and No. 2 in the A-Sun in assist-to-turnover ratio and finished the year ranking 17th and 42nd in the nation, respectively. Chihil was seventh in the conference in assists per game (3.2) and committed just 1.5 turnovers per game, while Kennedy ranked sixth in the A-Sun in assists (3.5) and turned the ball over just 2.0 times per contest.

The Eagles completed the most historic season in its Division I history, advancing to the NCAA Tournament and earning a No. 12 seed in the Raleigh Region. Led by three-time Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year Karl Smesko, FGCU finished with a 29-3 overall record that included a league-first 18-0 mark in the A-Sun. The Eagles verified the conference’s third-ever unbeaten regular season by cruising through the A-Sun Tournament, taking the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament with a convincing 67-39 win over second-seeded and 20-game winner Stetson.