Strong Defensive Effort Pushes FGCU to 62-35 Win at Kennesaw St.
Monday, December 31, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Photo Credit: Tim Cowie
Photo Credit: Tim Cowie
Florida Gulf Coast (8-5, 1-0)
Kennesaw State (4-9, 0-1)
12/31/2012 | Kennesaw, Ga. (KSU Convocation Center) | Attendance: 315
Florida Gulf Coast253762
Kennesaw State181735
Stats at a GlanceFGCUKSU
FG Percentage.439 (25-57) .316 (12-38)
3P FG Percentage.286 (8-28) .238 (5-21)
FT Percentage.667 (4-6) .600 (6-10)
Offensive Rebounds109
Defensive Rebounds1923
Total Rebounds2932
Bench Points218
Statistical LeadersFGCUKSU
PointsKENNEDY - 14
MASON - 13
ReboundsKENNEDY - 6
MASON - 11
AssistsHANSEN - 3
StealsKENNEDY - 6
BlocksKENNEDY - 1

KENNESAW, Ga. – Senior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) finished with a game-high 14 points as the FGCU women’s basketball team used a great defensive effort to open Atlantic Sun Conference play with a, 62-35, win at Kennesaw State Monday afternoon at the KSU Convocation Center.

“This was a good way to start conference play,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “Brittany Kennedy made a lot of defensive plays for us and Jaime Gluesing hit some big threes. Betsy Adams and Bethany Murrell came off the bench and gave us some solid minutes.”

With the win, FGCU, who owns an RPI as low as 51 and a strength of schedule (SOS) as low as 14, improves to 8-5 overall and 1-0 in the A-Sun, while KSU falls to 4-9 overall (0-1 A-Sun). The victory also improves the Green and Blue’s record in A-Sun openers (4-2), at the KSU Convo (4-2) and in the all-time series with the Owls (10-2).

Kennesaw’s 35 points are the fewest the Eagles have allowed to a Division I opponent since UNF (Jan. 7, 2012) and Belmont (Feb. 11, 2012) managed just 34 points against FGCU. KSU’s effort marks the fourth time this season that the Green and Blue have held the opposition below 50 points.

The Eagles, who are 17th in the nation in three-point field goals per game (7.8) this season, knocked down eight shots from behind the arc, led by a trio of triples from freshman Jaime Gluesing (Solon, Ohio/Solon HS).

Kennedy turned in 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor. She also registered six rebounds, six steals and three assists. Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) tallied 13 points, her 12th double figure scoring performance of the season, to go with five rebounds and three assists. Redshirt senior Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes HS/Valpo) added nine points and a pair of boards, while the freshman duo of Gluesing and Bethany Murrell (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS) chipped in with nine points and five points, respectively.

FGCU’s defense shut down KSU’s ‘Big 3’ of Sametria Gideon, Ashley Holliday and Kristina Wells. Gideon, who averaged a double-double (11.1 points, 10.9 rebounds) coming into the game, was held to six points and two rebounds. The Owls’ third leading scorer (10.7 ppg) that had recorded four straight double-digit scoring performances, Holliday, was frustrated all afternoon by Kennedy and turned in five points, zero assists and 11 turnovers. Wells, KSU’s leading scorer (11.5 ppg), was held scoreless in her 25 minutes of action.

The Eagles opened the game with a 9-4 run, thanks to three-pointers from DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover HS), Gluesing and Kennedy, over the first 3:20 of the opening half. Kennesaw State responded with a 6-0 spurt to take a 10-9 lead with 10:44 left on the clock.

KSU held FGCU scoreless for 4:44, until Hansen scored a bucket at the 9:36 mark to give the Green and Blue an 11-10 advantage. Hansen’s layup fueled a 10-0 run by the Eagles, capped by a Murrell layup, that gave FGCU a 19-10 lead (4:42).

The teams would play even the final four minutes of the half as the Eagles took a 25-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Kennedy and Hansen led the Green and Blue with five points each in the first half. Kennedy also added five rebounds and two steals, while Hansen tallied in with four boards and four assists. FGCU shot 41.7 percent (10-for-24) from the floor and knocked down four shots from ehind the arc. The Owls, who were forced into 12 first half turnovers, shot just 26.1 percent (6-for-23) from the field and hit four of their 13 attempts from long distance in the opening 20 minutes.

FGCU came out on a mission in the second half, and outscored the Owls 33-16 over the first 15:09 of the second half to take a commanding 56-34 lead.  During their 33-16 spurt, the Green and Blue forced Kennesaw State into seven turnovers and used their defense to frustrate the Owls.

The Eagles would cruise the rest of the way and went on to pick up the 62-35 conference victory.

KSU shot 31.6 percent (12-for-38) from the floor, 23.8 percent (5-for-21) from long range and 60 percent (6-for-10) from the free throw line.

FGCU shot 43.9 percent (25-for-57) from the floor and hit 8-of-28 three-pointers. The Eagles also registered 14 steals, forced 27 turnovers (scored 28 points off of those turnovers) and tallied 13 assists on 25 made baskets.

The Green and Blue are back in action on Wednesday, January 2 when they travel to Macon, Ga. to battle the Bears of Mercer (6-6, 0-1 A-Sun). Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.

Fans can follow FGCU on Twitter (@FGCU_WBB), Instagram (@FGCUWbb) and on Facebook by liking FGCU Women’s Basketball (www.Facebook.com/FGCUWbb).