Eagles Set to Face BCS Opponents in Caribbean Challenge
Monday, November 22, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU women’s basketball team will participate in the Caribbean Challenge Nov. 25 and 26 in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The Eagles (2-0) will face Virginia Tech on Thursday (Nov. 25) at 5 p.m. and take on Purdue on Friday (Nov. 26) at 7:30 p.m.

For score updates from both games in Mexico, fans can check out the official Twitter page of FGCU Athletics by clicking HERE.

FGCU (2-0) vs. Virginia Tech (4-0) Game Central
Date (Time): Thursday, Nov. 25 (5 p.m.)
Site: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Series: First Meeting

FGCU (2-0) vs. Purdue (4-0) Game Central
Date (Time): Friday, Nov. 26 (7:30 p.m.)
Site: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Series: First Meeting 

Preseason WNIT Champs

With a 67-58 win over DePaul on Nov. 21, Purdue won the 2010 Preseason WNIT. This season marked the third Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament appearance for the Boilermakers and is their third trip to the Preseason WNIT finals. Purdue won the 2006 WNIT championship by defeating No. 16 Baylor, 69-55, on Nov. 19 in Waco, Texas. In 2000, fourth-ranked Purdue finished as runners up to No. 11 Louisiana Tech, 68-63.

Houser Out For Season
Sophomore starting point guard KK Houser has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. Houser injured her knee at the 16:11 mark in the first half of Purdue’s season opener against Austin Peay while attempting a fastbreak layup in traffic. The Lincoln, Neb., native was a starter in five of Purdue’s 32 games last year. She averaged 5.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 19.0 minutes per game.

No (Senior) Class
In an informal poll of NCAA Division I women’s basketball programs, Purdue is one of seven schools without a senior on the roster (Illinois, Maryland, Murray State, Miami, Oral Roberts and Rutgers).

Virginia Tech In Non-Conference Games

In the last 12+ seasons, Virginia Tech has enjoyed success in non-conference regular season games, posting a 126-30 record in non-conference contests overall, including a 20-4 record at neutral sites. Last year the Hokies ended the nonconference slate with an 11-4 record.

Tough Scheduling
VT’s 2010-11 schedule will be a challenging one, as the Hokies face 2010 Elite Eight participant Duke along with seven other teams (Florida State, Georgia Tech, Iowa, North Carolina, NC State, Vanderbilt, Virginia) that made the 2010 NCAA Tournament field and eight teams (Charlotte, Delaware, Florida Gulf Coast, Maryland, Miami, Robert Morris, Virginia Commonwealth and Wake Forest) that participated in the 2010 WNIT. In addition, Tech’s schedule includes three teams (No. 6 Duke, No. 9 Florida State and No. 24 Vanderbilt) that ended the year in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25.

Ballin’ Out of the States
The Hokies have played outside the United States seven times in the history of the program and own a 16-4 record all-time on foreign soil. This year’s trip to the Caribbean Challenge is Tech’s second trip to Cancun, as they swept two games at the 2006 Caribbean Classic.

FGCU News and Notes
Opening Tip

FGCU will open up its five-game road swing with a pair of games in the Caribbean Challenge in Riviera Maya, Mexico Nov. 25-26. The Eagles will face Virginia Tech and Purdue while in Mexico. The Hokies and the Boilermakers will be th 12th and 13th BCS opponents the Blue and Green have faced in the program’s brief Division l history. The Eagles are coming off a 60-48 win at home over Troy.

Eagles Picked To Win A-Sun Title in 2010-11
FGCU, led by preseason All-Conference selection senior Shannon Murphy, earned top billing in the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason coaches’ and media polls, the conference office announced on Oct. 13.

FGCU Ranked #7 In Mid-Major Preseason Poll
The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team earned a spot in the CollegeInsider.com Women’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll, announced on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The Eagles started the season ranked No. 14.

Excuse Me Mr. Chairman
FGCU women’s basketball coach Karl Smesko was named the chairman of the voting panel for CollegeInsider.com’s Women’s Basketball Mid-Major Top 25 Poll on Oct. 14.

Over a decade after creating the Mid-Major Top 25 for division I men’s basketball, CollegeInsider.com has joined forces with the Atlantic Sun Conference to establish the women’s Mid-Major Top 25.

Hi...My Name Is
Karl Smesko
has assembled a young and talented staff in his ninth season at the helm of the FGCU women’s basketball program. Abby Scharlow and Herman Burge join 3rd year assistant Chelsea Dermyer as assistant coaches. Former UConn standout, Mel Thomas, came aboard as the director of operations.

Shannon Murphy Leads The Returners
Senior Shannon Murphy, a 2010 preseason All-Conference selection, is the Blue and Green’s top returning scorer (10.7 ppg). The senior ranked first in the conference and 45th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.71) last season, while also shooting .354 from three-point range and leading the team with 33.0 minutes per game.

The list of returnees from last year’s squad, includes Murphy and fellow senior Shavonne Butler, along with three juniors and a pair of redshirt-freshmen.

The returners in the junior class include a trio of highly-seasoned players in Courtney Chihil, Eglah Griffin and Kelsey Jacobson. Chihil, who returns from a knee injury suffered in the Eagles WNIT matchup at Miami, was FGCU’s top rebounder (6.2 rpg) and three-point threat (41.3-percent) last season. Griffin averaged 7.6 points per contest in 2009-10, while Jacobson, the 2009 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, is FGCU’s second ranked returning scorer and three-point threat.

Redshirt-freshmen Kiara Bomben and Sarah Hansen round out the returning players.

Fresh Faces
Six newcomers join the Eagles for ’10-11. That list includes one true freshmen (Amber Rechis). Transfers Nancy Aguilar, Lerrin Cook, Nicoya Jackson, Katie Lyon and Sarah Whitfield also join the program.

Follow the Eagles
There are multiple ways for fans to keep up with the Eagles during the 2010-11 season.

On The Web
1. FGCUAthletics.com (official site of Eagle athletics)
2. CourtsideWithKiara (Kiara Bomben’s basketball blog)
3. Facebook.com/FGCUAthletics (official Facebook Page of FGCU Athletics)
4. Facebook.com/FGCUWBB (official Facebook Page of FGCU WBK)

On Twitter
1. FGCUEagles (FGCU Athletic Department)
2. FGCUCoachSmesko (Karl Smesko)

Off On The Right Foot
After defeating Seton Hall 64-57, FGCU is now 8-1 all-time in season openers, including wins in three of the last four. The Eagles only loss in a home opener came at the hands of Florida State in the 2007-08 home opener (1st season of Division 1).

The Blue And Green vs. The ACC
Thursday night’s game vs. Virginia Tech will be FGCU’s fifth game against a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Blue and Green are 0-4 all-time vs. the ACC. The Eagles dropped their last meeting with an ACC squad (Miami) 70-57 in Coral Gables, Fla. in the first round of the 2010 Postseason WNIT.

The Blue and Green vs. The Big Ten
The Eagles have played just one game in their history against a team currently in the Big Ten. On December 13, 2009, FGCU fell in East Lansing, Mich. to then No. 21 Michigan State, 94-71.

FGCU vs. BCS Opponents
FGCU is 3-8 all-time against BCS foes after picking up a win over BIG EAST opponent Seton Hall in the season opener on Nov. 12 at Alico Arena. The Eagles’ three wins over BCS opponents have been in Fort Myers. Virginia Tech and Purdue are the second and third of four BCS foes FGCU will square off against this season. The Eagles will play host to Indiana on Dec. 21.

Look Mom I’m On TV
FGCU will be on TV (Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast - CSS) twice this season. The Eagles will have a TV slate that includes a road contest with the Bruins of Belmont on Monday, January 31 in Nashville, Tenn. The Blue and Green make their second CSS appearance in as many weeks when they host the defending A-Sun champion ETSU Lady Bucs on Monday, February 7 at Alico Arena.

We’re Going Streaking
Florida Gulf Coast University has not lost a home game in Alico Arena since January 8, 2009 against East Tennessee State University. FGCU’s 60-48 win over Troy (Nov. 21) bumped the Eagles home win streak to 26 games. FGCU’s 26-game home winning streak is the third longest streak in the nation behind UConn and Stanford.



1. UConn 


2. Stanford 


3. FGCU 


We Must Protect This House
FGCU has a 121-9 (.931) all-time record at home. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 43-3 (.935) home record.























Home Cookin’
Alico Arena has become one of the most intimidating places for opposing teams in all of Division I women’s basketball. The Eagles have accumulated a 43-3 record on their home court since moving to Division I, good for a .935 winning percentage. Only Tennessee, who has a .942 winning percentage (327-20), has a higher all-time winning percentage at home.

Fillin’ the Stat Sheet
Playing in just her second game after suffering a knee injury in the final game of the 2009-10 season (at Miami; 3/18/10), junior Courtney Chihil came very close to becoming the first player in FGCU history to register a triple-double against Troy. Chihil’s dominating performance on both ends of the court featured 10 points, nine rebounds, seven steals and five assists over 37 minutes. Her seven steals were a career-high and also rank second all-time in the FGCU record books for steals in a single game.

Nation’s Best
FGCU’s three-point prowess has been the program’s calling card from day one and the 2009-10 version of the Eagles was no different. FGCU finished the season ranked second in the nation in 3-pointers made per contest:

NCAA D-I TEAM - 3-Pointers Made Per Game Team 3-pt FG/gm
1. Morehead State 10.3
2. FGCU 10.2
3. Middle Tennessee 10.1
4. Oral Roberts 9.2
5. Fresno State 8.9

Three Is The Key
• The Eagles went 19-3 when they shot 24 or more three-pointers in a game in 2009-10.
• FGCU finished 18-3 when they drained nine or more shots from behind the arc during the 2009-10 season. The Blue and Green also held a 22-4 record when they knocked down more 3-point shots than their opponent.
• FGCU held their opponents to .317 (134-of-423) from behind the arc, while the Eagles drained 317-of-876 (.362) three-pointers in 2009-10.
• FGCU took a school-record 46 three-pointers in their 67-47 win at Lipscomb (previous record was 45 attempts vs. UNF on March 1, 2008).