@FGCU_WBB Looks to Keep Rolling Against North Florida
Friday, January 24, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
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Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
North Florida (5-13 | 1-6 A-Sun)
at
FLORIDA GULF COAST (13-6 | 7-0 A-Sun)
1/25/2014 | Alico Arena - Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 1503
1st2ndFinal
North Florida161834
FLORIDA GULF COAST282654
Stats at a GlanceUNFFGCU
FG Percentage.295 (13-44) .315 (17-54)
3P FG Percentage.200 (3-15) .281 (9-32)
FT Percentage.556 (5-9) .733 (11-15)
Offensive Rebounds119
Defensive Rebounds3123
Total Rebounds4232
Turnovers2612
Steals314
Bench Points1818
Statistical LeadersUNFFGCU
PointsFLORIN - 9
HAAS - 14
ReboundsJONES - 6
TEAM - 6
HANSEN - 6
AssistsCONNER - 2
DUNSON - 4
StealsMERKERSON - 1
LAMAR - 1
JONES - 1
COBB - 6
BlocksJONES - 1
KNIGHT - 2

North Florida (5-12 | 1-5 Atlantic Sun) at FGCU (12-6 | 6-0 Atlantic Sun)
Saturday, Jan. 25 | 7 p.m. | Alico Arena
Video: ESPN3
Live Stats: Statbroadcast via FGCUAthletics.com
Twitter: @FGCU_WBB
Game Notes: FGCU |  UNF |  Atlantic Sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. – With sole possession of first place in Atlantic Sun action, the FGCU women’s basketball team will host The University of North Florida Saturday night at Alico Arena.  The conference contest is slated for 7 p.m. and can be viewed live and free of charge on ESPN3.  As always, David Moulton and J. Webb Horton will be on the air for the Eagles.

Following the Saturday matchup, the team will be signing autographs for all fans.

THE GREEN & BLUE

With a win over Jacksonville on Thursday, the Eagles continue conference action with a record of 6-0 and currently maintain a first-place standing in the conference.  The Eagles are 12-6 on the season and 8-2 in the confines of Alico Arena.

As a team, the Eagles have scored 66.7 points per game this season, while allowing the opposition to 62.5 points per contest.  Eagle foes have held the rebounding advantage through 18 games with a 40.8-34.7 margin, while the Eagles have maintained control of the ball with just 14.1 turnovers per game.  FGCU has forced 17.7 opponent turnovers per game this season but has allowed opponents to maintain a .396 shooting percentage.  In conference action, the Eagles have shot 39 percent from the field, while holding opponents to a mark of 36 percent.

Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of .394 on the season with a .330 mark from beyond-the-arc.  The team has made a combined 166 shots from long range, with an average of 9.2 per game to rank seventh among the NCAA’s 349 teams. 

THE STREAKS

The Green and Blue currently hold the nation’s longest regular season conference win streak at 42 games.  The Eagles previously sat behind Big 12 power, Baylor University but saw as the Bears fell to Kansas last weekend.  The Eagles will also look to continue a 50-game home win streak when they host UNF Saturday.  The team has won 50 consecutive Atlantic Sun games at Alico Arena since the 2007-08 season and currently holds an all-time home record of 59-1 in conference play at home. 

300

Head coach Karl Smesko and the team picked up their 300th program victory on Thursday night.  Through 12 seasons, Smesko has guided the team to an average of 25 wins per year and an overall record of 300-62.

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) sits atop of the team statistics with an average of 13.8 points per game.  The captain also leads the team with 6.8 rebounds per game and 46 steals on the season.

Redshirt-Sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) adds 13.6 points per game and leads the team with 54 blocks.  Knight ranks among the top 13 nationally with 3.0 blocks per game and leads the Eagles with 43 made shots from long range.   Knight is averaging a team-high 15.7 points per game in Atlantic Sun contests after scoring a team-high 20 points against Jacksonville on Thursday.

Sophomore Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) has consistently led the Eagles this season and is currently averaging 12.0 points per contest, while 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’ top offensive contributors with 8.4 and 6.7 points per game, respectively.  Cobb leads the team with 46 assists on the year and has been a tremendous force on defense for the Eagles.

Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) entered the Eagles’ starting lineup three games ago and has added 6.5 points per game in conference action including a career-high 17 points in the win over Kennesaw State.  Dunson has also contributed 23 assists through five conference games.

GAME DAY TWEETABLES

- The Eagles have challenged UNF 13 times since 2008 and hold an 11-2 record.  FGCU has earned seven-straight wins, all by double-digits.

- FGCU’s recent starting five (Atwater, Dunson, Hansen, Haas, Knight) have averaged 85 percent of the team’s 71 points per game in conference action.

- The Eagles’ are currently riding a nation-high 42 game win streak in regular season conference action. They have also won 50 straight A-Sun games at Alico Arena.

- Smesko picked up his 350th career win against FIU on Nov. 8. That’s a career record of 358-92 & a win percentage of .800.

- The team earned its 300th program since the 2002-03 season on Thursday.  All wins have come under the leadership of @FGCUCoach Smesko.

- Senior Sarah Hansen currently ranks 11th among all-time A-Sun scorers with 1,687 points and 27th in all-time rebounding at 767 boards.

- The Eagles have made 3,208 3-pointers in 362 games for an average of 8.8 per game through 12 years.

- It has been 1,843 days since the Eagles lost their last A-Sun game at Alico Arena.

LAST TIME OUT

Sparked by 16 points from Whitney Knight, the FGCU women’s basketball team produced an 18-point run in the first half en route to a 56-49 victory over Jacksonville on Thursday night at Alico Arena.  With the win, the team remained the only undefeated team in A-Sun action and handed JU its first loss.

After trading the lead seven times in the opening minutes of the contest, the Eagles produced a 20-3 run in a span of just five minutes to close the first half with momentum on their side.  Sophomore Whitney Knight gave the Eagles 18 first-half points and sent the home team into the break with a 39-25 advantage.  The Dolphins pressured FGCU in the second half but was unable to cut the deficit to fewer than six points.  The Green and Blue held on to the lead to remain the only undefeated team in league action.

ALL-TIME MEETINGS

The Eagles have challenged UNF 13 times since 2008 and hold an 11-2 record.  FGCU has earned seven-straight wins, all by double-digits.  The Green & Blue holds a 63.5 to 48.9 point advantage and has earned 10 double-figure wins with an average margin of victory at 14.6 points.  The Eagles’ largest victory was a 68-34 win at Alico Arena in 2012.

LAST TIME AGAINST THE OSPREYS

In the semifinal round of last year’s Atlantic Sun tournament, the Eagles defeated UNF 73-44 in Macon, Ga.  The Green & Blue shot 48 percent from the field with 12 made shots from 3-point range, while holding the Ospreys to 36 percent and no made 3-pointers on 10 attempts.  The team produced 25 points on 20 UNF turnovers in the 29-point victory.

SCOUTING THE VISITING TEAM

- The Ospreys of UNF are currently 5-12 on the season with a record of 1-5 in Atlantic Sun action.  The team earned wins over Air Force and Georgia Southern before dropping four-straight conference wins.  The Ospreys bounced back with their first conference win on Jan. 18 against Lipscomb but fell to Stetson on Thursday night.  

- As a team, the Ospreys have averaged 55.8 points per game, while allowing opponents to score a 61.8 points per contest.  The opponent average tops the league for scoring defense.  UNF has shot 38 percent from the field this season with foes converting 39 percent of shots.  UNF pulls down 38.9 rebounds per game, four more than its opposition, turns the ball over an average of 18.3 times and dishes out 11.6 assists per contest.

- Individually, the Ospreys are led by junior Destinee Smith’s 11.6 points per game.  Smith is aided by 8.3 points per game by Ki Conner and 6.9 points by senior Raneisha Lamar.  Lamar adds 6.0 rebounds per game and has shot over 61 percent from the field this season.  Florin leads UNF with a team-high 29 made shots from 3-point range.

- After finishing last season with a 12-19 record including a 7-11 mark in A-Sun action, the Ospreys upset USC Upstate in the first round of the A-Sun tournament last season before falling to FGCU in the quarterfinal.  UNF was selected to finish fifth in the conference this season.

VARIETY

Smesko has used 166 different variations of players on the court through 18 games this season.  The team’s most efficient lineup – with a rating of +39 - has been the recent starting five of Atwater, Dunson, Haas, Hansen and Knight, while Dunson, Cobb, Haas, Hansen and Knight sit at +21.  The group of Atwater, Cobb, Haas, Hansen and Knight produce a ranking of +19 with the most minutes player together & the most points scored.

PRESEASON PROSPECTUS

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 106-12.  The impressive mark includes a 42-game win streak in regular-season play that dates back to 2011 and a 50-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.

UP NEXT

The Eagles will continue Atlantic Sun play from the road next weekend as they are set to face Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky. Tipoff against Lipscomb in Nashville is set for 6 p.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 30.

FOR MORE INFO

For all the details on Thursday’s matchup visit:

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 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.