Eagles Set to Battle BIG EAST Foe USF at The Sun Dome
Tuesday, December 04, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Photo Credit: Tim Cowie
Photo Credit: Tim Cowie
Florida Gulf Coast (4-4)
USF (7-0)
12/5/2012 | Sun Dome | Attendance: 929
Florida Gulf Coast271946
Stats at a GlanceFGCUUSF
FG Percentage.260 (13-50) .390 (23-59)
3P FG Percentage.258 (8-31) .500 (6-12)
FT Percentage.800 (12-15) .652 (15-23)
Offensive Rebounds68
Defensive Rebounds3334
Total Rebounds3942
Bench Points99
Statistical LeadersFGCUUSF
PointsIAMSTRONG - 10
SMITH - 19
ReboundsHANSEN - 11
AssistsKENNEDY - 6
StealsKENNEDY - 2
BlocksHANSEN - 4

FGCU (4-3) at USF (6-0)
Date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
City: Tampa, Fla.
Site: Sun Dome (10,411)
Live Video: GoUSFBulls.com
Live Stats: GoUSFBulls.com
Live Audio: FGCUAthletics.com
Talent: Tom James & J. Webb Horton
Twitter: @FGCU_WBB
Twitter Hashtags: #ASUNWBB/#FGCU/#PlayLikeAnEagle
Current Streak: W2
On the Road: 0-1
Last 5: 2-3
vs. USF: 3rd Meeting; Series tied 1-1
Last Meeting: Mar. 21, 2009; WNIT 2nd Rd - USF defeated FGCU 88-81 (OT)
vs. BIG EAST: 2-3

LAST TIME OUT (Dec. 1) - Hansen Scores Her 1,000th Career Point as the Eagles Maul the Maine Black Bears, 79-49
Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen became the sixth player in program history to score 1,000 career points and finished with a game-high 20 points to lead the FGCU women’s basketball team to a 79-49 win over Maine on Saturday night at ‘The Nest’ at Alico Arena.  *  With the win, FGCU picked up their 16th consecutive home win and improved to 4-3 overall, while the Black Bears fell to 1-6 on the season. The Eagles’ 16-game home winning streak now ranks t-7th in the nation behind Stanford (81), Baylor (43), Kentucky (25), Ohio St. (25), Central Arkansas (17) and Chattanooga (17).  *  The Eagles, who led the nation in three-point field goals per game (10.7) last season, knocked down 13-of-39 shots from behind the arc to mark just the second time this season they have drained double-digit triples in a game.  *  Hansen tallied eight rebounds and three steals and scored her 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor in 26 minutes of action. She scored her 1,000th point on a layup with 12:59 remaining in the first half and now has 1,012 career points, just five shy of overtaking former teammate Courtney Chihil for fifth all-time in program history.  *  Senior Joyce Iamstrong registered a career-high 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 from behind the arc. Senior Brittany Kennedy filled the stat sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

Coming off a convincing 79-49 win over America East Conference member Maine, FGCU is set to take on in-state and BIG EAST foe USF for the third time all-time on Wednesday night. The Bulls (6-0) are FGCU’s third BCS opponent this season (DePaul, South Carolina) with the Green and Blue holding a 0-2 record in those matchups.

After facing the Bulls of USF on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Sun Dome, the Eagles will travel to Virginia for a pair of non-conference contests.  FGCU will take on Virginia Tech on Dec. 16 (2 p.m.), before battling the Spiders of Richmond on Dec. 19 (7 p.m.).

FGCU is 153-10 all-time at home. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 78-4 home record.

FGCU has won 16 consecutive games at ‘The Nest’ at Alico Arena dating back to last season. The 16-game home winning streak currently ranks t-7th in the nation with Mississippi Valley and behind Stanford (81), Baylor (43), Kentucky (25), Ohio St. (25), Central Arkansas (17) and Chattanooga (17).

FGCU has an 89-29 all-time record as the visiting team. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 45-22 road record.

The Eagles are 2-3 all-time against the BIG EAST (1-1 vs. Seton Hall and USF; 0-1 vs. DePaul).

FGCU’s last win vs. a BIG East opponent came on Nov. 12 when the Eagles defeated Seton Hall, 64-57, in the 2010-11 season opener.

The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team dropped four spots to the No. 9 position in the fifth edition of the 2012-13 CollegeInsider.com Women’s Basketball Mid-Major Top 25 poll, announced on Dec. 4. The Eagles were ranked No. 11 in last week’s poll.

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 and West Coast Conference.

The Green and Blue are the only Atlantic Sun Conference team represented in the Top 25, while Stetson (6) and Mercer (5) received votes.

Outlet (Date)                                       RPI             Strength of Schedule (SOS)    

NCAA                                                   --               --
Real Time (Dec. 3)                               89              36
WarrenNolan.com (Dec. 3)                     88              35

Non-Conference Opponents Combined Record (Only D1): 50-31
*as of Dec. 3

SARAH HANSEN became the 6th player in program history to score 1,000 career points when she scored a layup with 12:59 remaining in the first half in FGCU’s 79-49 win over Maine at Alico Arena on Dec. 1.

Hansen, who currently has 1,012 points, ranks 6th in the FGCU record books behind her former teammate Courtney Chihil (1,016).

FGCU is currently first in the A-Sun in scoring offense (68.9), scoring defense (55.4), scoring margin (+13.4), field goal percentage (.428), assists (15.3), steals (12.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1).

Out of the 13 Division I schools in the state of Florida, the Eagles (4-3) rank sixth for the most victories in the state. *(Records as of 12/3)

School (Record)
Florida State (7-0)
USF (6-0)
FAU (5-2)
Miami (5-1)
Florida (5-3)
FGCU (4-3)
Stetson (3-3)
FIU (3-4)
Jacksonville (3-4)
UCF (3-6)
FAMU (2-4)
Bethune-Cookman (2-5)
UNF (2-5)

Sarah Hansen, Brittany Kennedy and JOYCE IAMSTRONG have combined to account for 54.6 percent (37.6 points per game) of FGCU’s scoring. The trio is also shooting .524 (97-of-185) from the floor and .362 (17-of-47) from long distance.

Averaging 68.9 points per game (1st in the A-Sun), the Eagles lead the league with a +7.71 turnover margin. Brittany Kennedy, who ranks 1st in the A-Sun in assists (6.0), is first in the conference in assist/turnover ratio at 2.4. Sarah Hansen is tied for fourth in the A-Sun with a 1.1 ratio, while ranking seventh in the league at 3.0 assists per game.

Senior BRITTANY KENNEDY and redshirt junior SARAH HANSEN give FGCU one of the top scoring tandems in the conference. The duo is averaging a combined 29.0 points, 12.7 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 5.2 steals per game.

A-Sun Top Scoring Tandems
McGowan/Sanders (Stetson) - 30.3 ppg
Bridges/Grant (Mercer) - 29.4 ppg
Hansen/Kennedy (FGCU) - 29.0 ppg
Mitchell/Bogard (ETSU) - 27.8 ppg
Copney/Starling (USC Upstate) - 27.4 ppg

• The duo has reached double figures in same game three times with FGCU going 3-0.

The reigning A-Sun Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Brittany Kennedy has lived up to the honor thus far this season. The Spokane, Wash. native averaged 2.4 steals per contest (60 steals; 25 games) as a redshirt junior in 2011-12 - good for first in program single-season history and third-best in the A-Sun - and is on pace to eclipse that total this year.

This season she has recorded 19 steals in seven games (3.2 per game; 1st in A-Sun) and averages 4.0 rebounds a game. Kennedy’s 3.2 steals per game rank her 50th in the nation (thru Dec. 2).

Kennedy, known for her lock-down defense on opposing guards, held Jerica Coley, a 2012 Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention and the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year that averaged 23.4 points per game, to just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting in their matchup on Nov. 14.

After leading the Eagles to a 1-2 record at the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam over Thanksgiving weekend, Sarah Hansen was named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament Team after averaging 17.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists in FGCU’s three games in the Virgin Islands. She also shot 21-of-40 (.525) from the field and 8-of-9 (.889) from the charity stripe.

USVI Paradise Jam Women’s Reef Division All-Tournament Team
Sarah Hansen - FGCU | Nicole Hamilton - Hampton | Brittany Hrynko – DePaul | Ashley Bruner – South Carolina | MVP: Aleighsa Welch – South Carolina

The Eagles defeated Warner 100-31 on Nov. 10, 2012 at Alico Arena, which was the 10th time in the history of the program and 3rd time since moving to Division I that the team has scored 100+ points in a single game.

Prior to the Warner game the last time that FGCU broke the century mark was Nov. 28, 2011 vs. Webber International (W, 106-27).

Surrounding its opponents with a balanced scoring attack, FGCU has knocked down 54 threes this season compared to just 33 from its opponents. Led by Lerrin Cook’s 2.5 trifectas per contest, 10 different players have made at least two shots from long range. The Eagles, who are second in the conference in three-point field goals made per game (7.7), have two players ranked in the A-Sun’s top-15 in the same category.

In the program’s 11-year history (317) games, FGCU has made at least one three-pointer in 316 contests, including 204 straight. The last and lone time the Eagles didn’t knock down a three was February 21, 2006 at Lynn. During the current 204-game run, the Green and Blue have knocked down 1,977 money balls while their opponents have knocked down 928 threes. In games that it has drained double-digit threes, FGCU is 119-8 all-time and 74-6 since moving to Division I in 2007-08.

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.

FGCU’s three-point prowess has been the program’s calling card from day one and the 2012-13 version of the Eagles is no different. FGCU is t-46th in the nation with an average of 7.7 threes per game. As a team, FGCU has drained double-digit threes in two games this season.

1. Youngstown St.(9.3)
    UConn (9.3)
3. Boston U. (9.0)
4. Oklahoma (8.9)
5. Villanova (8.9)
t-19. FGCU (7.7)

• The Green and Blue are 4-2 on the year when they drain six or more shots from beyond the arc.
• FGCU is 3-2 this season when they knock down more three-point shots than their opponent.

The Eagles, who own the A-Sun’s single season record for three-pointers (350; 2010-11), set a pair of NCAA records last season (2011-12).

FGCU, with their seven trifectas vs. St. Bonaventure in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (Mar. 18, 2012), set the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (342) and three-pointers made per game (10.7).

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.

Senior Brittany Kennedy, redshirt junior Sarah Hansen and freshman KATIE Meador are the Eagles that have earned weekly awards so far this season.

Sarah Hansen, FGCU (Nov. 20)
• First Career Player of the Week award
• Averaged 21.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in two contests
• Turned in a 25-point, 11-rebound effort in FGCU win vs. FIU
• Added 19 points six rebounds and four assists at Charlotte
• Shot 51.7 from the field and 85.7 from the charity stripe

Brittany Kennedy (Nov. 13)
• 1st Career College Sports Madness A-Sun Player of the Week award
• Recorded 11 points, nine assists, six steals and five rebounds vs. Warner (Nov. 10)

Katie Meador, (Nov. 13)
• 1st Career Newcomer of the Week award
• Picked up a double-double (11 pts, 12 rebs) in her 1st collegiate game against Warner (31 minutes)

The FGCU women’s basketball squad, led by Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Brittany Kennedy and Preseason All-Conference choice Sarah Hansen, earned top billing in the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason media poll and finished second in the coaches’ poll.

For the second time in conference history, the A-Sun let the fans decide preseason awards via Facebook. The Eagles were picked to win the regular season title and Kennedy was tabbed the fans’ Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

In the media poll, the Eagles took 14 of 19 first place votes, with Stetson picking up the other five. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the media selected the Green and Blue to win the regular season crown and the second year in a row that the press has predicted FGCU to win the A-Sun Tournament championship. In the coaches’ poll, FGCU took two of the 10 first place votes to finish second with 89 points, while Stetson received the remaining eight votes and finished first with 98 points.

The Eagles also received preseason accolades from College Sports Madness. Head coach Karl Smesko was selected as the preseason A-Sun Coach of the Year, while Hansen was named to the All-Conference first team and freshman guard DyTiesha Dunson was tabbed as the Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Freshman DyTiesha Dunson, who started working at backup point guard after sophomore phenom WHITNEY KNIGHT was hurt only three days before the start of practice this fall, has not played for FGCU and will be out at least three more weeks after undergoing successful knee surgery in early November for a torn meniscus.

Head Coach Karl Smesko announced the signings of two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 27. Morgan Blumer and Haley Laughter will join the Eagle program for the 2013-14 academic year.

Blumer, a 5-11 wing at Milton High School in Milton, Wisc., chose FGCU over Indiana, Minnesota and UNLV. A first-team all-state performer, Blumer led Milton in scoring (20.6 points), rebounds (9.9), steals (3.4) and blocks (1.9) as a junior. She earned Associated Press all-state first-team honors and was a member of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 2 All-State team. Blumer also earned unanimous first-team All-Southern Badger Conference honors for the Red Hawks, who finished 17-7 overall and finished second in league play.

Laughter, a 5-11 forward, is a three-time NCISAA All-State selection from Carolina Day School. She averaged 17.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals for the 30-2 Wildcats, who won the NCISAA 2-A championship last season. The two-time All-WNC selection and reigning Carolinas Athletic Association Player of the Year, chose FGCU over College of Charleston, Liberty, Drexel and UNC Asheville.

The Eagles suffered a pair of significant injuries that will sideline two players that were expected to contribute for the 2012-13 season. 

Sophomore guard WHITNEY KNIGHT and freshman Taylor Gradinjan both suffered ACL tears that will sideline them for the entire season.

Knight, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee injury during preseason workouts, was expected to see her role significantly increase. She appeared in all 32 games for the Eagles in 2011-12 and averaged 8.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 17.1 minutes. Knight, an A-Sun All-Freshmen team selection and 2012 A-Sun All-Tournament team honoree, finished the season ranked first on the team, second in the conference and 68th in the nation with 1.7 blocks per game, which placed her second in the single-season FGCU record books. FGCU’s first-ever top 100 recruit, Knight closed out her rookie campaign with a solid performance against St. Bonaventure in the first round of the Raleigh Region of the NCAA Tournament (Mar. 18, 2012) with eight points, four rebounds and a block in just 15 minutes.

Gradinjan, who suffered her knee injury during the Eagles’ game against South Carolina at the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (Nov. 23), was averaging 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game, but was starting to turn the corner. She scored eight points in just six minutes in the 60-58 Thanksgiving Day loss against DePaul and earned her first collegiate start the next day against South Carolina. Gradinjan had four points and three rebounds in 21 minutes against the Gamecocks before suffering the injury.

The Green and Blue’s opener on Nov. 10, marked the program’s second earliest calendar start. The 2007-08 season began on Nov. 9 with a home game vs. Florida State.

The 2012-13 FGCU roster includes players from 10 different states/countries. There are no players from the state of Florida on the Green and Blue’s roster for the fourth time in program history.

Year                                 Players from Florida
2002-03                         6
2003-04                         4
2004-05                         2
2005-06                         4
2006-07                         0
2007-08                         0
2008-09                         0
2009-10                         1
2010-11                         2
2011-12                         1
2012-13                         0

The 2012-13 roster features nine new faces for the Eagles, making up over 60 percent of the roster.

Coach Smesko and Company welcome in a stellar recruiting class, which includes transfers Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace HS/Butler) and Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./ Twin Lakes HS/Valpo) and freshmen Amanda Moore (Seymour, Ind./Seymour HS), DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover HS), Jamie Gluesing (Greendale, Wisc./Solon HS), Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat HS), Bethany Murrell (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS), Katie Meador (Salem Communuity HS/Salem, Ill.) and Taylor Gradinjan (Cudahy HS/ Cudahy, Wisc.). Adams, a fifth-year senior, will be able play this season, while Cobb has to sit out the year due to NCAA transfer rules and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

The Eagles returned six players, including a pair of starters from last year’s squad, in Sarah Hansen and Brittany Kennedy, that went 13-0 at Alico Arena. Hansen excelled both athletically and academically in 2011-12, earning Full Court Mid-Major All-American Honorable Mention honors, the A-Sun and DI-AAA ADA Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, the A-Sun Tournament MVP, a Capital 1 Academic All-District 4 first team selection and FGCU’s first unanimous A-Sun All-Conference first team selection in program history. She finished the season averaging a team-best 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds and ranked second on the team in steals (2.0) and blocks (23).

Kennedy led the Eagles in steals (2.4) and was second on the team in rebounds (4.8). She ranked 2nd in the conference in steals (in A-Sun Regular Season games) and registered a steal in 20 of 24 games she has played in. Kennedy showed flashes of being a lock-down defender during the season when she held A-Sun leading scorer Briana Williams (Mercer) to 3 points and 7 points in their two meetings and forced 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year Victoria McGowan (Stetson) into 12 turnovers in two games. Kennedy also helped limit 2012 A-Sun Freshman of the Year Taylor Mills to six points, on 3-of-10 shooting, and five turnovers in their A-Sun semifinal matchup.

FGCU also returned redshirt senior Lerrin Cook, senior Joyce Iamstrong and sophomores Whitney Knight and Anthi Chatzigiakoumi.

Junior Jenna Cobb will sit out the 2012-13 season due to transfer rules. Cobb joined the Eagles during the offseason after a two stellar season at Butler. Voted to the 2011-12 Horizon League All-Defensive Team, she started 28 games and averaged 6.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals (3rd in conference) in 29.8 minutes per game.

The 2011-12 season was the most historic season in FGCU’s Division I history, as they advanced to the NCAA Tournament and earned a No. 12 seed in the Raleigh Region. 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.

The Eagles also set the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (342) and three-pointers made per game (10.7) last season.