Whitney Knight's Career Night Leads @FGCU_WBB Over FIU, 75-55
Friday, November 08, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
FIU (0-1)
11/8/2013 | U.S. Century Bank Arena | Attendance: 506
Stats at a GlanceFGCUFIU
FG Percentage.426 (26-61) .360 (18-50)
3P FG Percentage.267 (4-15) .333 (5-15)
FT Percentage.594 (19-32) .667 (14-21)
Offensive Rebounds1513
Defensive Rebounds2229
Total Rebounds3742
Bench Points167
Statistical LeadersFGCUFIU
PointsKNIGHT - 25
SHADE - 18
ReboundsHANSEN - 9
AssistsHANSEN - 4
StealsHANSEN - 5
BlocksKNIGHT - 3

MIAMI, Fla. – In the opening contest of the 2013-14 season, the FGCU women’s basketball team earned a convincing 75-55 victory over FIU at U.S. Century Bank Arena Friday night.  With the win on the newly unveiled Lime Court, the Eagles begin the season at 1-0 and move to 9-3 in season-opening games all-time.  The Panthers fall to 0-1 to start the year.

After battling with the home team to open the contest, the Eagles used a 19-2 run late in the first half to take control of the game.  The Green and Blue outscored FIU, 39-36, in the second half to maintain the advantage and take the win.

“Whitney [Knight] had a huge game, she showed her versatility and attacked in conversion. She was just really really good,” explained head coach Karl Smesko. “How we closed the half was a big part of this game, and the second-most important thing was how we started the second half.  We used a lot of energy, we took it to them right at the beginning of the half and we extended the lead. We were pretty comfortable after that.”

Redshirt sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C., R.J. Reynolds High School) led the Eagles with a career-high 25 points on the night.  It was Knight’s first game with the Eagles after sitting out all of last season with an injury.  Junior Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School) added 12 points in her Green and Blue debut after transferring from Butler last season, while Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) and Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) each added eight points.

Hansen led the Eagles on the boards with nine rebounds on the night and added a team-high four assists.

Overall, the Eagles outshot the Panthers, 42.6 percent to 36 percent from the field but were outshot 33.3 percent to 26.7 percent from three-point range and were outrebounded, 42-37.

In the win, the Eagles held 2012-13 NCAA leading scorer, Jerica Coley to just seven points through the first 33 minutes of play and forced 20 FIU turnovers.  FGCU capitalized on those turnovers for 30 points and picked up 15 offensive rebounds for 17 second-chance points.

With seven-quick points from Knight, the Eagles opened the contest with a 9-4 lead and saw four different players score to bring the lead to 15-7 eight minutes in. 

The Panthers responded to challenge the Eagles with two three-pointers and a layup to tie the game at 13 midway through the half.

After two made free throws from sophomore Katie Meador (Salem, Ill./Salem Community High School), Cobb sank consecutive three-pointers to spark the Eagles to a 19-2 run to end the half.

The streak saw made free-throws by Jaime Gluesing (Solon, Ohio/Solon High School) and Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Westover High School) and eight points from Knight.

The Eagles held the Panthers scoreless in the final 4:32 of the half and went into the break with a 36-19 lead.

The Green and Blue carried the first-half momentum into the second stanza and began the half with a 10-1 run.  With that streak, the Eagles held FIU to zero field goals in the first 4:05 of the half for over eight minutes of scoreless play for the Panthers. 

Midway through the second half, the Eagles constructed a 14-4 run to take their largest lead of the game at 66-33.

FGCU maintained control of the game through the final minutes to hold onto the healthy lead and take the win, 75-55.

With the victory, Smesko earned his 350th career win. He maintains a win percentage of .808 with a record of 350-83 in the beginning of his 12th season.

The Eagles will return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 12 as they host Bethune-Cookman in their 2013-14 home opener.  Tipoff at Alico Arena is slated for 7 p.m.

For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the women’s basketball program, follow @FGCU_WBB on Twitter and Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook at /FGCUWBB.

2013-14 women’s basketball season tickets are selling quickly. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.