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Hansen, Jacobson, Knight and Smesko Earn A-Sun Postseason Awards
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After winning the Atlantic Sun regular season championship for the third time in five years and securing the first undefeated A-Sun season since 1995-96, the FGCU women’s basketball team earned a few more honors on Monday, Feb. 27. The conference announced their postseason honors, with FGCU taking home four awards.
FGCU earned its fifth first team (first unanimous) All-Atlantic Sun selection in program history as Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) followed up her second team selection last season by averaging a team-best 13.8 points and 6.3 rebounds and ranking second on the Eagles in steals (1.9) and blocks (17). Hansen, who sits eighth all-time in scoring in program history with 813 points, also ranked in the top-15 in the A-Sun in six categories (points, rebounds, FG Pct., FT Pct., steals, blocks). The redshirt-sophomore has scored in double figures 21 times this season, leading the Eagles in scoring in 11 contests.
“Sarah has had a great season,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “She continues to improve and has a tremendous toughness about her.”
Senior Kelsey Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn./Moorhead HS), the nation’s leader (among active players) in career three-point makes, earned second team All-Atlantic Sun honors, helping the Eagles secure their ninth 21-plus win season in the 10-year program history. Jacobson, who led the A-Sun in three-pointers made per game (2.7), picked up postseason honors for the first time since her rookie year (2008-09), when she earned A-Sun Freshman of the Year and an All-Freshmen team selection. The biology major has scored in double figures 16 times this season and has made multi-threes in 18 of 28 games on the year.
“Kelsey has had a great career,” said Smesko. “It is good to see her earn recognition.”
Freshman Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds HS), the team leader in blocks, was selected to the All-Freshmen team. In A-Sun games, Knight ranked in the top-5 (among freshmen) in three categories (points, FG Pct.,blocks). The rookie, who averages 8.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocks in just 17.2 minutes of action, has tallied 3+ blocks on 10 occasions this season.
“Whitney has had a good freshman season,” Smesko said. “I still think we have just scratched the surface of her ability. I believe she will be a first team all-conference player next year.”
Smesko claimed a regular season conference crown for the third time in the program’s existence as his squad amassed a perfect 18-0 conference mark earning him A-Sun Coach of the Year honors. The 26-2 Eagles, who own the nation’s third longest winning streak (18 games), behind Baylor and Stanford, are one of 12 25+ win teams in the nation (thru games played on Feb. 26).
The No. 1 seeded Eagles return to the court on Wednesday, Feb. 29 when they take on the No. 8 seed ETSU Lady Bucs (8-21, 7-11 A-Sun) at Mercer’s University Center in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Atlantic Sun Tournament. Tip is set for 12:00 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live on ESPN3.com. The game can also be heard live on ESPN 770AM in Fort Myers or online at www.770ESPN.com with David Moulton and Mark Miller on the call.
Player of the Year: Victoria McGowan, Stetson
Defensive Player of the Year: Crystal Bell, Jacksonville
Freshman of the Year: Taylor Mills, Kennesaw State
*Coach of the Year: Karl Smesko, FGCU
First Team All-Atlantic Sun
*Victoria McGowan – Stetson, Jr.
*Sarah Hansen – FGCU, R-So.
Haley Nelson – Belmont, Sr.
Brittany Kirkland - North Florida, Sr.
Tee’Ara Copney - USC Upstate, Jr.
* Unanimous Choice
Second Team All-Atlantic Sun
Destiny Mitchell – ETSU, So.
Kelsey Jacobson – FGCU, Sr.
Crystal Bell – Jacksonville, Sr.
Briana Williams – Mercer, So.
Sasha Sims – Stetson, So.
Atlantic Sun All-Freshmen Team
*Taylor Mills - Kennesaw State
Kristina Wells - Kennesaw State
Whitney Knight - FGCU
Precious Bridges - Mercer
Cherisse Burris - Stetson
* Unanimous Choice