FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team earned the No. 8 spot in the first edition of the 2011-12 CollegeInsider.com Women's Basketball Mid-Major Top 25 poll, announced on Tuesday.
Green Bay, who is ranked No. 24 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' Poll, opens the year as the top-ranked team, after advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament.
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, West Coast Conference. The Green and Blue are the only Atlantic Sun Conference team represented in the Top 25, while ETSU received 17 votes.
FGCU, previously tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the 2012 A-Sun regular season and A-Sun tournament crowns, returns eight players from last year’s 28-4 squad that won the program’s second A-Sun regular season title and made its fourth consecutive WNIT appearance. Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS), an A-Sun preseason All-Conference selection, is FGCU’s top returning scorer (13.3 ppg) and rebounder (5.8 rpg). Hansen also ranked first in the conference for field-goal percentage at .524 during her rookie campaign.
Aiming for their ninth 21-plus win season and first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles will tip off the program’s 10th season by hosting the Tritons of Eckerd College at 11 a.m. on Nov. 5 at Alico Arena. FGCU will open the 2011-12 regular season with a return trip to Seton Hall on Friday, Nov. 11. Led by second-year head coach Anne Donovan, the Pirates are coming off an 8-22 season, where they finished 1-15 in BIG EAST play. The Eagles defeated Seton Hall, 64-57, in the 2010-11 season opener for both squads on Nov. 12, 2010.