@FGCU_WBB Looks to Keep Rolling Against Kennesaw State
Friday, February 14, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
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Dunson led the Eagles with 23 points against Mercer on Thursday   Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Dunson led the Eagles with 23 points against Mercer on Thursday Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Kennesaw State (6-17 | 4-9 ASun)
at
FLORIDA GULF COAST (18-7 | 12-1 ASun)
2/15/2014 | Alico Arena - Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 2004
1st2ndFinal
Kennesaw State132942
FLORIDA GULF COAST314576
Stats at a GlanceKSUFGCU
FG Percentage.372 (16-43) .500 (26-52)
3P FG Percentage.231 (3-13) .375 (9-24)
FT Percentage.636 (7-11) .714 (15-21)
Offensive Rebounds58
Defensive Rebounds2126
Total Rebounds2634
Turnovers2212
Steals512
Bench Points226
Statistical LeadersKSUFGCU
PointsWELLS - 16
COBB - 23
ReboundsWELLS - 10
KNIGHT - 8
AssistsCAPELLAN - 2
WELLS - 2
SAWYERS - 2
DUNSON - 7
StealsWELLS - 4
COBB - 3
BlocksKNIGHT - 1
DUNSON - 1
CHATZIGIAKOUMI - 1

Kennesaw State (6-17 | 4-8 Atlantic Sun) at FGCU (17-7 | 11-1 Atlantic Sun)
Saturday, Feb. 14 | 7 p.m. | Alico Arena
Video: ESPN3
Live Stats: Statbroadcast via FGCUAthletics.com
Twitter: @FGCU_WBB
Game Notes: FGCU |  KSU | Atlantic Sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fresh off its strongest offensive production of the season, the FGCU women’s basketball team will continue Atlantic Sun action on Saturday evening as the team hosts Kennesaw State University in a 7 p.m. tilt.  The game can be viewed live and free of charge on ESPN3 with David Moulton and J. Webb Horton on the call.

The Eagles will honor the American Heart Association during Saturday’s game as part of American Heart month.  Fans are encouraged to wear red.

THE GREEN & BLUE

Since falling to Northern Kentucky to begin the month, the Eagles have outscored opponents by an average of 25 points a game to pick up three-straight wins.  The Eagles now stand at 17-7 on the season with a league-best record of 11-1 in Atlantic Sun play.  The team currently sits tied for first atop the standings with in-state rival Stetson University.   

The Eagles have scored 67.8 points per game this season, while holding opponents at 60.8 points scored per contest for a conference-best points allowed.  In conference play, FGCU has outscored the opposition by a margin of 15.3 points through 12 games and has held foes to an average of 54.6 points per game. 

Eagle opponents have controlled the boards through 24 games this season with a 40 to 34.9 advantage, while the Eagles have maintained control of the ball with just 13.8 turnovers per game.  FGCU has forced 17.8 opponent turnovers per game this season for a turnover margin that ranks among the top 10 percent of Division I teams.

Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of .398 this season with a clip of .340 from the perimeter.  The team has made a combined 241 shots from long range, with an average of 10 per game to rank second among the nation’s 349 teams. 

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

The Eagles boast three double-digit producers in senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) and sophomores Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) and Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School).  All three players rank among the top-20 scorers in the conference.

Hansen sits atop of the team rankings with an average of 14 points per game.  The senior captain also leads the squad with 6.9 rebounds per game and ranks second in the league with a team-high 51 steals on the season.  Hansen scored a season-high 26 points at USC Upstate last weekend and added 18 against Mercer on Thursday to bring her career total to 1,774 points.

Knight adds 13 points per game and leads the team with 67 blocks on the year.  Knight ranks among the top-20 nationally with 2.79 blocks per game and leads the Eagles and the conference with 60 made shots from the perimeter.   

Haas has continued to add to the Eagles’ offense this season and is currently averaging 11.2 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 point producers with 7.7 and 6.9 points per game, respectively.  Cobb leads the team with 61 assists on the year and has been a tremendous force on defense for the Eagles with 40 steals.

Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) entered the Eagles’ starting lineup one month ago and has added 8.3 points per game in conference action.  Dunson has also contributed a team-high 50 assists through 12 conference games including a career-high eight assists at USC Upstate last weekend.  Dunson set a new career high as she led all players with 23 points in the Eagle’s win over Mercer on Thursday.

After scoring just 29 points in the first 19 games, sophomore Katie Meador (Salem, Ill./Salem Community High School) added 45 points in the last five contests.  Meador put up a career-high 13 points against USC Upstate with five made field goals.

LAST TIME OUT

With the team’s strongest offensive performance of the season, the team earned a 99-57 win over Mercer University Thursday night at Alico Arena.  With the win, the Eagles improved to 17-7 on the season with an 11-1 mark in Atlantic Sun action.

FGCU allowed Mercer to take a two-point lead to open the game but quickly constructed an 18-4 run to claim a double-figure lead midway through the first half.  After holding a 45-24 advantage at the break, the Eagles sank 8-of-10 field goals to start second stanza and extend their lead to 34 points.  The team shot 62 percent and outrebounded Mercer 21-11 in the second half to maintain the advantage.  The strong offensive surge helped the Eagles increase their lead to a season-high 48 points and ultimately pushed the Green and Blue to the 42-point victory.

As a team, the Eagles successfully converted 52 percent of shots, including 52 percent of 3-point attempts and 67 percent of shots from the free-throw line.  The team held Mercer to a 40 percent clip from the field with 5-of-11 3-point shots made.  FGCU outrebounded Mercer 43-31 and scored a season-high 18 second-chance points. 

Defensively, the team scored 22 points on 17 forced Mercer turnovers.  The Eagles never allowed Mercer to score more than four-consecutive points and held the Bears to less than one point per possession, while recording a season-high 1.37 points per possession themselves.

ALL-TIME MEETINGS

Thursday will mark the 15th meeting between the Eagles and the Owls, dating back to the 2007-08 season.  The Eagles hold a 13-2 record in the all-time series, including a win earlier this season at the KSU Convocation Center and seven-straight wins since 2011.  FGCU has scored an average of 70 points per game against KSU, while holding the Owls to just 55 points each contest.  The Eagles’ largest win over the Owls was a 74-36 win at Alico Arena last season.

LAST TIME AGAINST THE OWLS

Despite a second-half surge by Kennesaw State, the team picked up a 69-55 win at the KSU Convocation Center on Jan. 16 . 

Led by 10 points from sophomore Dunson, the Eagles took control in the first half.  FGCU capitalized on nine Kennesaw turnovers to score 14 points and went into the break with a 36-24 advantage.  The Owls challenged the Eagles in the second half and cut the deficit to just two points midway through the half but FGCU responded to outscore the home team 27-15 in the final 10 minutes to earn the win.

Dunson led all players with a then career-high 17 points, while Haas added 16 for the Green and Blue.  Hansen contributed 14 points, all in the second half with Atwater scoring 11 in 25 minutes of action.

Hansen’s all-around game aided in the Eagle-win as the captain added seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block.  Hansen recorded zero turnovers in 33 minutes.

Collectively, the Eagles shot 40 percent from the field with a 33.3 percent success rate from 3-point range.  The Owl’s second-half surge increased their shooting percentage to 41.8 percent on the night.  The home team shot 20 percent from beyond-the-arc and 75 percent from the free-throw line.

THE STREAK

The Green and Blue currently hold a 52-game home win streak in Atlantic Sun action.  The team has won 52 consecutive Atlantic Sun games at Alico Arena since January of 2009 and currently holds an all-time home record of 61-1 in conference play at home since the 2007-08 season. 

SINCE THE LOSS

After compiling a 44-game win streak in regular season Atlantic Sun action that spanned 1,067 days, the Eagles were defeated 63-43 at Northern Kentucky to begin the month of February.  However, since the loss, the Eagles have produced three wins by a margin of 25 points including a 99-57 win over Mercer on Feb. 13.  The team has shot 44 percent from the field with a 39 percent clip from 3-point range and has averaged nearly 82 points per game since falling in Highland Heights.  The team has also forced 17.3 opponent turnovers, while recording just 11 miscues per game and has grabbed 10 steals.  FGCU has outrebounded foes 38.3 to 37.7 in those three games and has seen Hansen, Dunson, Knight and Haas all produce an average of double-figure points.

RAINING THREES

Backed by a 3-point shooting mark of 34 percent, the Eagles have made an average of 10 long-range shots per game this season.  The tally ranks the Eagles second among the nation’s 349 times, behind only Sacramento State, who has tallied 12.8 3-pointers a game this season.  Sacramento State is currently on pace to set the NCAA record for 3-point average, previously set by the Eagles in 2012. 

Of the Eagles’ 1,363 points scored this season, 53 percent have been scored from distance.

The Green and Blue have a strong history in 3-point shooting, as the Eagles have made 3,278 shots from beyond-the-arc in just 12 years.  The team has also made a 3-pointer in 367 of the team’s 368 games and is currently riding a 255 game streak with at least one shot made from the perimeter.

The Eagles currently hold three NCAA records for 3-point shooting including single game (22 made at ETSU last season), single season (342 made in 2012) and average shots made per game (10.7 in 2012).

Individually, 2012 graduate Kelsey Jacobson sits alone as the A-Sun’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers with 330 made in just three seasons.

HANSEN’S HEORICS

In her final year as an Eagle, Hansen is ensuring her mark will be left at FGCU.  The senior currently holds 11 all-time program records including the top marks in points, rebounds, steals and games started.  She most recently set the mark for most minutes played by an FGCU player and has currently seen 3,592 minutes on the court for FGCU.  In 122 games, Hansen has averaged 29.4 minutes per game.

Among Atlantic Sun competitors, Hansen ranks 11th in career points with 1,774.  If she continues to average 14 points per game, she will finish ranked seventh among the league’s top ever producers.  Hansen also ranks among the top 22 producers in rebounds for the Atlantic Sun.  With 810 boards, Hansen is on pace to finish among the top 20.

SCOUTING THE VISITING TEAM

- The Owls of Kennesaw State are 6-17 on the season with an A-Sun mark of 4-8 after defeating Northern Kentucky 53-39 last weekend but falling to Stetson 87-57 on Thursday.

- As a team, the Owls average 61.9 points per game, while allowing opponents to score 74.4 points per contest.  KSU has shot 38.7 percent from the field this season with foes converting 45.2 percent of shots.   They bring down an average of 38.3 rebounds per game and allow opponents to grab 37.3 boards per game.  The team has turned the ball over an average of 18.2 times per contest with just 9.9 assists and 4.6 steals.

- Individually, the Owls are led by junior guard Kristina Wells’ 15.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.  Wells is aided by freshman guard Deandrea Sawyers who has averaged 13.4 points per game with 52 made 3-point attempts this season.  In conference play, the duo is responsible for 34.5 of the team’s points per game.

- The Eagles are 13-2 all-time against Kennesaw State in games dating back to 2008.  The Owls last defeated FGCU in 2011; since then the Eagles have won seven straight contests, including two games in A-Sun Conference Tournament matchups and a game at the Convocation Center earlier this year.

- The Owls were selected to finish as the league’s 10th ranked team this season after finishing last year with a mark of 7-24 overall and 3-15 in A-Sun games.

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.

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. 

THE HISTORY

Despite just a 12-year presence, the FGCU women’s basketball team boasts a rich history.  Led by 12th-year Head Coach Karl Smesko, the Eagles have produced a program record of 305-63 for a remarkable win percentage of 83 percent.  Smesko has produced ten 20-win seasons since the program’s inception with two seasons that eclipsed the 30-win mark.

After playing for the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2007, the team joined the Division I ranks for the 2007-08 season.  In their first year of Division I play, the Eagles won 29 games for the fourth most in NCAA history, while producing the third-highest winning percentage of a first-year team at 90.6.  After a four-year transition period, the Eagles made the NCAA Tournament in their first year of postseason eligibility.  Since making the transition to DI, the Eagles have compiled a record of 172-42 and have finished atop the Atlantic Sun standings four times. 

UP NEXT

After Saturday’s contest, the Eagles will hit the road again.  The team will travel across the Sunshine State to face Jacksonville and North Florida next Thursday and Saturday.  Thursday’s game at JU is slated for 5 p.m. at Swisher Gymnasium.

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.