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@FGCU_WBB Set for Second Go-Round in Atlantic Sun Action
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||32||38||70|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.410 (25-61)||.315 (17-54)|
|3P FG Percentage||.389 (14-36)||.333 (4-12)|
|FT Percentage||.750 (6-8)||.700 (7-10)|
BOND - 2
MCQUEEN - 1
MILES - 1
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – After snapping a 44-game win streak in Atlantic Sun action, the FGCU women’s basketball team will look to get back on track as it begins the second half of the conference season Thursday night at East Tennessee State University. Tipoff at the MSHA Athletic Center is slated for 7 p.m.
THE GREEN & BLUE
The defending regular-season champion Eagles began conference play at 8-0 for the third-consecutive year and but fell to Northern Kentucky last week and currently sit at 8-1 in league play. The Eagles hold a first-place tie with in-state rival Stetson and maintain an overall record of 14-7.
As a unit, the Eagles have scored 65.8 points per game this season, while holding opponents at 61.4 points per contest. In conference play, FGCU has put up 65.8 points per game and has outscored the opposition by a margin of 12.1 points through nine games.
Eagle foes have held the advantage on the glass through 21 games with a 40.4 to 34.4 margin, while the Eagles have maintained control of the ball with just 14.2 turnovers per game. FGCU has forced 17.9 opponent turnovers per game this season but has allowed opponents to maintain a .394 shooting percentage.
Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of .390 this season with a .331 mark from 3-point range. The team has made a combined 198 shots from long range, with an average of 9.4 per game to rank fifth among the nation’s 349 teams.
Senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) sits atop of the team rankings with an average of 13.3 points per game. The captain also leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game and 49 steals on the season.
Redshirt-Sophomore Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) adds 13.1 points per game and leads the team with 61 blocks. Knight ranks among the top 15 nationally with 2.85 blocks per game and leads the Eagles with 52 made shots from the perimeter.
Sophomore Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) has continued to add to the Eagles’ offensive attack this season and is currently averaging 11.4 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 contributors with 8.1 and 6 .9points per game, respectively. Cobb leads the team with 55 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 one month ago and has added 6.3 points per game in conference action including a career-high 17 points in the win over Kennesaw State. Dunson has also contributed a team-high 35 assists through nine conference games.
GAME DAY TWEETABLES
- The Eagles and Bucs have met 13 times since the 2007-08 season with FGCU holding an 11-2 advantage in the win column, including 9-straight wins.
- Thursday marks the final time FGCU will compete in an Atlantic Sun Conference game at the MSHA Center as the Bucs will join the Southern Conference on July 1.
- FGCU’s recent starting five (Atwater, Dunson, Hansen, Haas, Knight) have averaged 78 percent of the team’s 65.9 points per game in conference action.
- The Eagles’ nation-high win streak in regular season conference action was snapped at NKU last weekend. The streak spanned 1,067 days.
- The team earned its 300th win two weeks ago. All wins have come under the leadership of @FGCUCoachSmesko, who holds a career record of 362-93.
- Of the Eagles’ 1,382 points this season, 42.9 percent have been scored from beyond-the-arc.
- Hansen currently ranks 12th among all-time A-Sun scorers with 1,718 points and 23rd in all-time rebounding at 783 boards.
- The Eagles have made 3,240 3-pointers in 365 games for an average of 8.8 per game through 12 years.
- With one more start, Hansen will top the all-time program record for career appearances in the starting lineup.
- Johnson City, Tenn. is 830 miles from the campus of FGCU.
- The Eagles have seen 166 variations players on the court this season but have used just two different starting lineups.
- FGCU has produced five games with 10 turnovers or fewer.
- With seven blocks, Knight will become the FGCU all-time program leader at 122 swatted shots.
- The Eagles finished the month of January with a mark of 8-0.
LAST TIME OUT
The team’s nation-high 44-game Atlantic Sun win streak was halted Saturday night at The Bank of Kentucky Center as the Eagles were defeated 63-43 by Northern Kentucky University. With the loss, the Eagles fell to 14-7 on the season with an 8-1 mark in conference action.
The loss marked the first conference defeat for the Eagles since Feb. 28, 2011 and the team’s largest margin of defeat since joining the A-Sun in 2007. The team has never scored fewer than 43 points in a contest.
After producing a 10-point run to take the lead midway through the first half, the Eagles were held scoreless for seven minutes and saw as the Norse produced a 23-point streak that spanned the first and second half. NKU converted 7-of-12 3-point shots in the second half to extend its lead to a game-high 22 points and maintained a significant advantage through the end of the game.
As a team, the Eagles shot 31.9 percent from the floor, while allowing the home team to convert 48.9 percent of shot attempts. The Norse made 50 percent of their 3-point attempts and sank 8-of-8 free throws. The Eagles were held to 30 percent from 3-point range and committed 21 turnovers. NKU also out-performed FGCU on the glass with a 36-23 rebound advantage.
Individually, Knight was the Eagle’s top contributor with 19 points on 5-of-8 long-range shots and four blocks.
The Eagles and Bucs have met 13 times since the 2007-08 season with FGCU holding an 11-2 advantage in the win column. FGCU has won nine-straight against ETSU, including a 2012 A-Sun Quarterfinal game and the first meeting this season and has outscored ETSU by a margin of 12 points per game.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE BUCS
The teams last met on Jan. 9 at Alico Arena in the opening weekend of Atlantic Sun play. FGCU and ETSU battled for the lead early in the game before Knight single-handedly put together a nine-point run to give the Eagles the lead midway through the first half. The Eagles extended their lead to 10 points late in the half but allowed the Bucs to challenge them before the break. Six quick points to open the second half gave the Green and Blue a momentum it would never give up. The Eagles extended their lead to a game-high 25 points and ultimately earned a 73-58 victory.
Collectively, the Eagles shot 48 percent from the field, while holding ETSU to 41 percent with a percentage of 16.7 three-point range. The Eagles converted 36.4 percent of shots from distance and made eight 3-pointers on the night. ETSU narrowly outrebounded FGCU, 33-31 and both teams recorded 20 turnovers in the Eagles’ second conference game of the season. The teams each produced an even 23 points off miscues. Knight led all individuals with 21 points, while Haas, Hansen and Atwater all contributed double-figures for the Eagles.
SCOUTING THE HOME TEAM
- The Bucs are currently 7-13 on the season with a record of 3-6 in Atlantic Sun action after falling to Jacksonville and defeating UNF last weekend. The team fell to FGCU on Jan. 9.
- As a team, the Bucs average 68.4 points per game, while allowing opponents to score 72.4 points each contest. ETSU has shot .412 on the year with a .327 mark from 3-point range. Buc foes have shot .423 this season and .329 from beyond-the-arc. Defensively, the Bucs are averaging 38 rebounds and 6.2 steals per game, while forcing 15 opponent turnovers a game.
- Individually, the Bucs are led by junior Cara Bowling who has averaged 12.7 points through 15 games this season. Bowling has sat out with injury in the last five games and is questionable for Thursday’s contest. Sophomore Brianna McQueen adds 11.8 points per game, while junior Serena Clark, a Clemson transfer, contributes an average of 11 points and leads the team with 10.6 boards and a .523 shooting percentage. Bond, McQueen and Clark combined for 38 points against FGCU in January with an additional 12 points from Shawn Randall. Randall will sit out Thursday with a hand injury, eliminating a threat for the Eagles. ETSU’s injuries have been an issue from the start of the season as Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference team member Destiny Mitchell scored 15 points against Memphis to open the season but has yet to return to the court.
- After finishing last season with a record of 8-18 and a conference mark of 6-12, the Bucs were selected to finish fifth in the conference this season. This year’s squad is under the direction of first-year head coach Brittney Ezell who previously coached against the Eagles while at Belmont.
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 conference play on the road at USC Upstate on Saturday, Feb. 8. Tipoff in Spartanburg, S.C. is scheduled for 2 p.m.
FOR MORE INFO
For all the details on Sunday’s matchup check out:
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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.