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@FGCU_WBB Readies for Road Tilt at Kennesaw State
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||36||33||69|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||KSU|
|FG Percentage||.400 (24-60)||.418 (23-55)|
|3P FG Percentage||.333 (11-33)||.200 (3-15)|
|FT Percentage||.667 (10-15)||.750 (6-8)|
TEAM - 7
CHATZIGIAKOUMI - 1
COBB - 1
KENNESAW, Ga. – With a 3-0 Atlantic Sun record, the FGCU women’s basketball team will travel to Kennesaw State University on Thursday, Jan. 16 to begin the road portion of the conference slate. Tipoff at the KSU Convocation Center is slated for 7 p.m. The game will be available live and free of charge on ESPN3.
THE GREEN & BLUE
As the four-time defending regular-season champions, the Eagles started the conference season at 3-0 for the fifth-consecutive year and currently hold a mark of 9-6 overall.
The Eagles have scored 67.1 points per game this season, with an average of 72.3 points scored in conference games. The team has allowed opponents to 64.3 points per contest overall but have held league foes to just 53 points in three games thus far. Eagle opponents have held the advantage on the glass through 15 games with a 41.4 to 34.3 margin, while the Eagles have maintained control of the ball with just 14.7 turnovers per game. FGCU has forced 18.3 opponent turnovers per game this season with 9.3 steals per game and has held the opposition to a shooting percentage of 40.2 from the field and 30.4 from 3-point range.
Offensively, FGCU has maintained a shooting percentage of 39.5 this season with a 32.9 mark from beyond-the-arc. The team has made a combined 138 shots from long range, with an average of 9.2 per game to rank seventh among the NCAA’s 349 teams and to top the conference rankings.
The Eagles will look to continue a 39-game win streak this weekend. The team has won 39 consecutive Atlantic Sun games in the last three seasons for the nation’s second-best streak. Only Baylor holds a longer streak at 46 straight conference wins.
Senior captain Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) currently leads the Eagles with 14.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Hansen also paces the team and the Atlantic Sun with 39 steals on the year.
Redshirt-Sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) adds 13.5 points per game and leads the team with 44 blocks. Knight ranks among the top 15 nationally with 2.93 blocks per game and leads the Eagles with 35 made shots from long range. Knight is averaging 17.7 points per game in the first three Atlantic Sun contests and has shot 51.4 percent in those games.
Sophomore Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) has consistently led the Eagles this season and is currently averaging 12.5 points per contest with 34 total assists.
Transfers Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Westover High School) and Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School) round out the Eagles’ starting lineup with 7.9 and 6.9 points per game, respectively. Cobb leads the team with 36 assists on the year and has been a force for the FGCU defense this season.
GAME DAY TWEETABLES
- The Eagles have made 3,271 3-pointers in 264 games for an average of over 9 per game through 12 years. #RainingThrees
- FGCU and Kennesaw State have met 14 times with the Eagles holding a 12-2 advantage in the win column. The Eagles have won six-straight since 2012.
- FGCU’s starting five (Atwater, Cobb, Hansen, Haas, Knight) have averaged 82 percent of the team’s 67.1 points per game.
- Head Coach Karl Smesko picked up his 350th career win against FIU on Nov. 8. That’s a career record of 357-92 & a win percentage of .800. He’ll coach his 450th career game on Thursday.
- Hansen currently ranks 12t in the Atlantic Sun all-time scoring list with 1,649 career points. If she continues on pace with 14 points per game, she will rank among the top eight of the league’s best athletes. The senior also ranks among the top 30 in rebounds with 747 career boards.
- With three made free throws last weekend, Hansen took over as the program’s all-time leader. Hansen has made 366 shots from the charity stripe in 113 career games and currently sits atop the program record books in eight categories.
- The FGCU women’s basketball program currently stands at 297 wins dating back to the 2002-03 season.
LAST TIME OUT
With four double-digit scorers and a season-high team rebounding effort, the team defeated USC Upstate 72-45 Saturday night at Alico Arena to remain undefeated in Atlantic Sun play.
The Eagles took a 6-0 lead to open the game and extended the advantage to 10 points in the first six minutes of play. The team forced 12 first-half turnovers and held a 17-point lead before the break. FGCU maintained control and used an 11-1 run to increase the lead to a game-high 29 points midway through the second half. The Spartans were able to cut the deficit to 20 points in the final two minutes but the Eagles used seven-straight points to end the game and earn the 72-45 victory.
Individually, the Eagles saw strong performances from several players. Cobb and Knight led the Eagles’ offensive effort with 12 points each, while Haas and Hansen also produced double-digits on the night with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) recorded a season-high nine points in her first start of the season. Dunson also added four assists to lead the Eagles for the third-consecutive game.
As a unit, the Eagles shot 35 percent from the field, while holding the Spartans to 29 percent. FGCU allowed Upstate to convert just 22 percent of shots in the first half alone. The Eagles also outrebounded their opponent, 50-45 and forced 23 turnovers, while recording a season-high 50 rebounds and grabbing a season-best 17 steals.
FGCU and Kennesaw have met 14 times since the 2007-08 season. The Eagles currently hold a 12-2 advantage in the win column and have outscored the Owls by an average of 70.4 to 54.7 points per game. The Eagles’ biggest win was a 74-36 victory over KSU last season in Fort Myers. The Eagles have outscored the Owls by an average of over 30 points per game in the last three meetings and hold a 19.6 average margin of victory in the complete series.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE OWLS
The Eagles and Owls last met in the first round of the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference tournament. Kennesaw State went ahead by just three points early in the contest before the Eagles took hold of the tournament game. Former Eagle Joyce Iamstrong paced FGCU with 23 points and six rebounds on the night, with Haas and Hansen contributing 14 and 12 points, respectively. With over 50 percent of shots from the field made, the Eagles advanced in the tournament with a 73-47 win.
SCOUTING THE VISITING TEAM
- The Owls of Kennesaw State are 4-11 on the season and have started the A-Sun slate with a mark of 2-2 after defeating North Florida and Lipscomb but falling to Jacksonville and Northern Kentucky. The team is 3-4 in games played on its home court at the KSU Convocation Center.
- As a team, the Owls average 60.3 points per game, while allowing opponents to score 75.3 points per contest. KSU has shot 38.4 percent from the field this season with foes converting 46 percent of shots. They bring down an average of 37.9 rebounds per game and allow opponents to edge them slightly with 38.2 boards per game. The team has turned the ball over an average of 19.1 times per contest with just 9.5 assists and 5.1 steals.
- Individually, the Owls are led by junior guard Kristina Wells’ 13.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Wells is aided by freshman guard Deandrea Sawyers who has averaged 13.3 points per game with 37 made 3-point attempts this season.
- After finishing the 2012-13 season with a record of 7-24 and an Atlantic Sun mark of 3-15, the Owls were selected as this year’s A-Sun underdog.
On the heels of two perfect Atlantic Sun seasons, the FGCU women’s basketball team was predicted to continue its success as the preseason favorite in both the Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll and the A-Sun Media poll.
With 97 points, the Eagles finished nine points ahead of defending A-Sun Tournament Champion Stetson in the coaches’ poll, while FGCU earned 327 points in the media poll. The Green and Blue picked up seven of the league’s 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll and was voted as the top-ranked team 30 times by the media.
It was the fifth-consecutive year that the Eagles’ earned the league’s top vote after winning the A-Sun regular season in four of the last five seasons. In six seasons of A-Sun action, the Eagles hold a record of 100-12. The impressive mark includes a 36-game win streak in regular-season play that dates back to 2011 and a 45-game win streak at Alico Arena.
The Eagles also picked up numerous individual preseason awards with Hansen leading the way. Hansen was named the Atlantic Sun Preseason Player of the Year, the Atlantic Sun Fan-Voted Preseason Player of the Year and the College Sports Madness Preseason Player of the Year. Knight earned Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference nod, while Dunson was voted by the fans as the Defensive Preseason Player of the Year. As the reigning A-Sun Coach of the Year, Smesko was named the Preseason Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness to begin this season.
The Eagles will continue the conference road trip this weekend as they travel south to Macon, Ga. FGCU will take on Mercer at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19 before returning to Alico Arena next week.
FOR MORE INFO
For all the details on Thursday’s matchup visit:
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2013-14 women’s basketball season tickets and single-game 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.