Eagles Playing for Independent Championship in Texas
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
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Coach Smesko and the Eagles face NJIT in game one of the Independent Tournament.
Coach Smesko and the Eagles face NJIT in game one of the Independent Tournament.

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU women’s basketball team will finish out the 2007-08 season at the Division I Independent Championship beginning Thursday in Edinburg, Texas. The Eagles (18-8) will open tournament play against NJIT on Thursday at 5:30pm CT. Each of the six participating teams will play three games.

The Wolverines of Utah Valley State enter the tournament as the top seed, while FGCU, Chicago State, CSU Bakersfield, NJIT and Texas-Pan American are the two through six seeds. With the exception of Texas-Pan American, the Eagles have not faced any of the other teams in the tournament. Number one seed Utah Valley State will open with host Texas Pan-American and Chicago State will match up with CSU Bakersfield in the opening round on Thursday.

On Friday the Eagles will play either Chicago State or CSU Bakersfield, depending on how the wins and losses fall on the opening day.

NJIT (8-18) lost its regular season finale at Longwood last Sunday, 60-49. Freshman Jessica Gerald leads the Highlanders with a 12.3 points per game average.

Chicago State (14-12) has won five straight, including an 86-60 blowout win over the Utah Valley State on February 23rd in Chicago to sweep the regular season series. The Cougars are led by Jasmin Dixon's 17.8 points per game, which puts her second behind Fairbanks among independents. Dixon has also won independent player of the week four times, second to Fairbanks' five.

CSU Bakersfield (11-15) is led by Kelley Tarver's 17.3 points per contest.

Utah Valley is coming off of a 94-82 win over CSU Bakersfield last Saturday in its final home game of the year. The win gave the Wolverines a perfect 12-0 mark on their home court this season. Robyn Fairbanks had 23 points and 10 rebounds in just 22 minutes of action while Julie McMurray and Sandy Marvin both finished with 17. Seniors Susie Cornejo (11 points) and Rebekah Peterson (eight points, nine rebounds) played in their final home games as Wolverines. Robyn Fairbanks is currently leading all independents in points, rebounds, field goal percentage and blocks and is ranked 4th nationally in scoring (24.0 ppg), 16th in rebounds (10.0 rpg) and 13th in field goal percentage (57.9 percent).

Texas Pan-American (10-16) is led by senior guard LeKeisha Gray, who is averaging 14.7 points per game. The Lady Broncs won an exhibition game last weekend against Houston Baptist but prior to that had lost three straight.