Eagles Look to Extend The Nation's 8th Longest Home Winning Streak Against Maine
Saturday, December 01, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Photo Credit: Dennis Snyder
Photo Credit: Dennis Snyder
Maine (1-6)
Florida Gulf Coast (4-3)
12/1/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. - Alico Arena | Attendance: 1405
Florida Gulf Coast433679
Stats at a GlanceMAINEFGCU
FG Percentage.333 (18-54) .418 (28-67)
3P FG Percentage.280 (7-25) .333 (13-39)
FT Percentage.545 (6-11) .625 (10-16)
Offensive Rebounds128
Defensive Rebounds3628
Total Rebounds4836
Bench Points1921
Statistical LeadersMAINEFGCU
PointsWood - 10
ReboundsWood - 10
AssistsRoberts - 2
Wood - 2
StealsAnderson - 1
Heise - 1
Charles - 1
Wells - 1
BlocksMitrovic - 1

FGCU (3-3) vs. Maine
Date: Saturday, December 1, 2012
Time: 4:45 p.m.
City: Fort Myers, Fla.
Site: Alico Arena (4,500)
Live Video: ASun.TV
Live Stats: FGCUAthletics.com
Live Audio: FGCUAthletics.com
Talent: Brice Zimmerman & J. Webb Horton
Twitter: @FGCU_WBB
Twitter Hashtags: #ASUNWBB/#FGCU, #PlayLikeAnEagle
Current Streak: W1
At Home: 2-0
Last 5: 2-3
vs. Maine: 1st Meeting
vs. America East: 1st Meeting

LAST TIME OUT: FGCU Defeats Hampton to Win ‘The Battle of the Mid-Majors’ at the Paradise Jam (11/24)
Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen dominated the game and filled the stat sheet with 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists as the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Hampton, 70-59, in a matchup between the No. 7 and No. 8 ranked teams in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll Saturday, Nov. 24 in the final game of the Paradise Jam at the University of the Virgin Islands.  •  The Eagles are now 1-1 all-time against MEAC competition and avoided the first four-game losing streak in program history.  •  Hansen, who was named to the All-Tournament team, scored her 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor in 37 minutes of action. Senior Joyce Iamstrong registered 10 points, six boards and four assists. Freshman Katie Meador turned in a solid performance for the Eagles, finishing with six points, seven rebounds and five steals, while Brittany Kennedy tallied eight points, five assists and three steals.  •  FGCU shot 46.6 percent (27-for-58) from the floor and hit six of 18 3-pointers. The Eagles also held a 40-34 edge on the glass and registered 19 assists on 27 made baskets.

FGCU’s Saturday night game against Maine will be the Eagles’ first home game in more than two weeks. FGCU is currently first in the A-Sun in scoring defense (56.5), scoring margin (+10.7), field goal percentage (.429), assists (15.5), steals (11.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).

Maine’s matchup with FGCU is the first of eight straight games away from their home court (Alfond Arena).

The Black Bears have dropped their last two contests (Minnesota/VCU). Freshman Brittany Wells led Maine last time out as she tallied a career-high 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting including hitting a pair of three-pointers, her second multi-three pointer game of the season.

As a team, the Black Bears are averaging 58.8 points per game and are shooting 38.4% from the field and 28.3% from beyond the arc. Maine is knocking down 74.2% of its free throws while pulling down 36.2 rebounds per game. The Black Bears are averaging 14.3 assists per game, a 4.3 increase on last seasons 10.1 final number. Defensively, the Black Bears are averaging 8.0 steals per game and 3.2 blocks while giving up 72.7 points per game.

The Black Bears are led by junior guard Ashleigh Roberts who leads the team in scoring at 14.0 points per game. Roberts is averaging 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists and recently had her five game streak of scoring in double-figures snapped. Sophomore Danielle Walczak is averaging 9.7 points per game and leads the team in rebounding at 5.3 in her three games thus far. Walczak is shooting 54.2% (13-24) from the field. Freshman Liz Wood leads the team with 29.7 minutes per game and is chipping in 7.3 points per game and 4.2 rebounds. Wood has knocked down a team-high seven three pointers on the season and is shooting 35.0% from beyond the arc. Fellow freshman Anna Heise is netting 6.8 points per game to go along with 3.8 rebounds while Wells is averaging 6.3 points with six steals. Point guard Courtney Anderson is averaging 5.8 points per game while fellow point guard Sophie Weckstrom is averaging 3.3 PPG and leads the team with 3.0 assists per game.

The Black Bears enter the game 4-1 against current members of the Atlantic Sun conference. Maine’s last meeting with a team from the A-Sun came on Dec. 21, 2010 against Stetson (L, 76-70). The Black Bears last defeated a team from the A-Sun on Nov. 25, 2005 when they defeated Kennesaw State 88-56 in the opening round of the Dead River Company Classic.

After hosting the Black Bears of Maine on Saturday, Dec. 1 at Alico Arena, the Eagles will travel to Tampa to battle in-state foe USF. Tipoff for the third meeting all-time between the two squads is set for 7 p.m.

FGCU is 152-10 all-time at home. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 74-4 home record.

FGCU has won 15 consecutive games at ‘The Nest’ at Alico Arena dating back to last season. The 15-game home winning streak currently ranks 8th in the nation behind Stanford (81), Baylor (43), Kentucky (25), Ohio St. (24), Central Arkansas (17), Chattanooga (16) and Mississippi Valley (16).

The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team dropped four spots to the No. 11 position in the fourth edition of the 2012-13 CollegeInsider.com Women’s Basketball Mid-Major Top 25 poll, announced on Nov. 27. The Eagles were ranked No. 7 in last week’s poll.

The Mid-Major Poll is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt and West Coast Conference.

The Green and Blue are the only Atlantic Sun Conference team represented in the Top 25, while Stetson received 27 votes.

Sarah Hansen, LERRIN COOK and Brittany Kennedy have combined to account for 57.0 percent (38.3 points per game) of FGCU’s scoring. The trio is also shooting .511 (70-of-137) from the floor and .341 (15-of-44) from long distance.

Averaging 67.2 points per game (2nd in the A-Sun), the Eagles lead the league with a +5.67 turnover margin. Brittany Kennedy, who ranks 1st in the A-Sun in assists (5.8), is second in the conference in assist/turnover ratio at 2.2. Sarah Hansen is fifth in the A-Sun with a 1.2 ratio, while ranking sixth in the league at 3.3 assists per game.

The reigning A-Sun Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Brittany Kennedy has lived up to the honor thus far this season. The Spokane, Wash. native has recorded 14 steals in five games (2.8 per game; 2nd in A-Sun) and averages 3.4 rebounds a game.

Kennedy, known for her lock-down defense on opposing guards, held Jerica Coley, a 2012 Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention and the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year that averaged 23.4 points per game, to just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting in their matchup on Nov. 14.

Surrounding its opponents with a balanced scoring attack, FGCU has knocked down 41 threes this season compared to just 26 from its opponents. Led by Lerrin Cook’s 3.3 trifectas per contest, 10 different players have made at least one shot from long range. The Eagles, who are second in the conference in three-point field goals made per game (6.8), have one player ranked in the A-Sun’s top-10 in the same category.

In the program’s 11-year history (316) games, FGCU has made at least one three-pointer in 315 contests, including 203 straight. The last and lone time the Eagles didn’t knock down a three was February 21, 2006 at Lynn. During the current 203-game run, the Green and Blue have knocked down 1,964 money balls while their opponents have knocked down 921 threes. In games that it has drained double-digit threes, FGCU is 118-8 all-time and 73-6 since moving to Division I in 2007-08.

FGCU’s three-point prowess has been the program’s calling card from day one and the 2012-13 version of the Eagles is no different. FGCU is t-46th in the nation with an average of 6.8 threes per game, As a team, FGCU has drained double-digit threes in just one game this season.

1. Youngstown St. (9.3)
2. Villanova (9.2)
3. Boston U. (9.2)
4. Western Illinois (9.0)
5. Green Bay (8.8)
t-46. FGCU (6.8)

Head Coach Karl Smesko announced the signings of two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 27. Morgan Blumer and Haley Laughter will join the Eagle program for the 2013-14 academic year.

Blumer, a 5-11 wing at Milton High School in Milton, Wisc., chose FGCU over Indiana, Minnesota and UNLV. A first-team all-state performer, Blumer led Milton in scoring (20.6 points), rebounds (9.9), steals (3.4) and blocks (1.9) as a junior. She earned Associated Press all-state first-team honors and was a member of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 2 All-State team. Blumer also earned unanimous first-team All-Southern Badger Conference honors for the Red Hawks, who finished 17-7 overall and finished second in league play.

Laughter, a 5-11 forward, is a three-time NCISAA All-State selection from Carolina Day School. She averaged 17.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals for the 30-2 Wildcats, who won the NCISAA 2-A championship last season. The two-time All-WNC selection and reigning Carolinas Athletic Association Player of the Year, chose FGCU over College of Charleston, Liberty, Drexel and UNC Asheville.

After leading the Eagles to a 1-2 record at the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam over Thanksgiving weekend, Sarah Hansen was named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament Team after averaging 17.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists in FGCU’s three games in the Virgin Islands. She also shot 21-of-40 (.525) from the field and 8-of-9 (.889) from the charity stripe.

USVI Paradise Jam Women’s Reef Division All-Tournament Team
Sarah Hansen - FGCU
| Nicole Hamilton - Hampton | Brittany Hrynko – DePaul
Ashley Bruner – South Carolina | MVP: Aleighsa Welch – South Carolina

The Eagles defeated Warner 100-31 on Nov. 10, 2012 at Alico Arena, which was the 10th time in the history of the program and 3rd time since moving to Division I that the team has scored 100+ points in a single game.

Prior to the Warner game the last time that FGCU broke the century mark was Nov. 28, 2011 vs. Webber International (W, 106-27).

Senior Brittany Kennedy, redshirt junior Sarah Hansen and freshman Katie Meador are the Eagles that have earned weekly awards so far this season.

Sarah Hansen, FGCU (Nov. 20)
• First Career Player of the Week award
• Averaged 21.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in two contests
• Turned in a 25-point, 11-rebound effort in FGCU win vs. FIU
• Added 19 points six rebounds and four assists at Charlotte
• Shot 51.7 from the field and 85.7 from the charity stripe

Brittany Kennedy (Nov. 13)
• 1st Career College Sports Madness A-Sun Player of the Week award
• Recorded 11 points, nine assists, six steals and five rebounds vs. Warner (Nov. 10)

Katie Meador, (Nov. 13)
• 1st Career Newcomer of the Week award
• Picked up a double-double (11 pts, 12 rebs) in her 1st collegiate game against Warner (31 minutes)

The FGCU women’s basketball squad, led by Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Brittany Kennedy and Preseason All-Conference choice Sarah Hansen, earned top billing in the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason media poll and finished second in the coaches’ poll.

For the second time in conference history, the A-Sun let the fans decide preseason awards via Facebook. The Eagles were picked to win the regular season title and Kennedy was tabbed the fans’ Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

In the media poll, the Eagles took 14 of 19 first place votes, with Stetson picking up the other five. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the media selected the Green and Blue to win the regular season crown and the second year in a row that the press has predicted FGCU to win the A-Sun Tournament championship.

In the coaches’ poll, FGCU took two of the 10 first place votes to finish second with 89 points, while Stetson received the remaining eight votes and finished first with 98 points.

The Eagles also received preseason accolades from College Sports Madness. Head coach Karl Smesko was selected as the preseason A-Sun Coach of the Year, while Hansen was named to the All-Conference first team and freshman guard DyTiesha Dunson was tabbed as the Preseason Freshman of the Year.

The Green and Blue’s opener on Nov. 10, marked the program’s second earliest calendar start. The 2007-08 season began on Nov. 9 with a home game vs. Florida State.

Junior Jenna Cobb will sit out the 2012-13 season due to transfer rules. Cobb joined the Eagles during the offseason after a two stellar season at Butler. Voted to the 2011-12 Horizon League All-Defensive Team, she started 28 games and averaged 6.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals (3rd in conference) in 29.8 minutes per game.

The Eagles suffered a pair of significant injuries that will sideline two players that were expected to contribute for the 2012-13 season. 

Sophomore guard Whitney Knight and freshman Taylor Gradinjan both suffered ACL tears that will sideline them for the entire season.

Knight, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee injury during preseason workouts, was expected to see her role significantly increase. She appeared in all 32 games for the Eagles in 2011-12 and averaged 8.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 17.1 minutes. Knight, an A-Sun All-Freshmen team selection and 2012 A-Sun All-Tournament team honoree, finished the season ranked first on the team, second in the conference and 68th in the nation with 1.7 blocks per game, which placed her second in the single-season FGCU record books. FGCU’s first-ever top 100 recruit, Knight closed out her rookie campaign with a solid performance against St. Bonaventure in the first round of the Raleigh Region of the NCAA Tournament (Mar. 18, 2012) with eight points, four rebounds and a block in just 15 minutes.

Gradinjan, who suffered her knee injury during the Eagles’ game against South Carolina at the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (Nov. 23), was averaging 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game, but was starting to turn the corner. She scored eight points in just six minutes in the 60-58 Thanksgiving Day loss against DePaul and earned her first collegiate start the next day against South Carolina. Gradinjan had four points and three rebounds in 21 minutes against the Gamecocks before suffering the injury.

The 2012-13 FGCU roster includes players from 10 different states/countries. There are no players from the state of Florida on the Green and Blue’s roster for the fourth time in program history.

Year          Players from Florida
2002-03      6
2003-04      4
2004-05      2
2005-06      4
2006-07      0
2007-08      0
2008-09      0
2009-10      1
2010-11      2
2011-12      1
2012-13      0

The 2012-13 roster features nine new faces for the Eagles, making up over 60 percent of the roster.

Coach Smesko and Company welcome in a stellar recruiting class, which includes transfers Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace HS/Butler) and Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./ Twin Lakes HS/Valpo) and freshmen Amanda Moore (Seymour, Ind./Seymour HS), DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover HS), Jamie Gluesing (Greendale, Wisc./Solon HS), Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat HS), Bethany Murrell (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS), Katie Meador (Salem Communuity HS/Salem, Ill.) and Taylor Gradinjan (Cudahy HS/ Cudahy, Wisc.). Adams, a fifth-year senior, will be able play this season, while Cobb has to sit out the year due to NCAA transfer rules and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

The Eagles returned six players, including a pair of starters from last year’s squad, in Sarah Hansen and Brittany Kennedy, that went 13-0 at Alico Arena. Hansen excelled both athletically and academically in 2011-12, earning Full Court Mid-Major All-American Honorable Mention honors, the A-Sun and DI-AAA ADA Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, the A-Sun Tournament MVP, a Capital 1 Academic All-District 4 first team selection and FGCU’s first unanimous A-Sun All-Conference first team selection in program history. She finished the season averaging a team-best 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds and ranked second on the team in steals (2.0) and blocks (23).

Kennedy led the Eagles in steals (2.4) and was second on the team in rebounds (4.8). She ranked 2nd in the conference in steals (in A-Sun Regular Season games) and registered a steal in 20 of 24 games she has played in. Kennedy showed flashes of being a lock-down defender during the season when she held A-Sun leading scorer Briana Williams (Mercer) to 3 points and 7 points in their two meetings and forced 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year Victoria McGowan (Stetson) into 12 turnovers in two games. Kennedy also helped limit 2012 A-Sun Freshman of the Year Taylor Mills to six points, on 3-of-10 shooting, and five turnovers in their A-Sun semifinal matchup.

FGCU also returned redshirt senior Lerrin Cook, senior Joyce Iamstrong and sophomores Whitney Knight and Anthi Chatzigiakoumi.