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@FGCU_WBB Looks for Powerful Performance at Jacksonville Thursday
|FLORIDA GULF COAST||34||28||62|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||JU|
|FG Percentage||.407 (22-54)||.300 (12-40)|
|3P FG Percentage||.333 (7-21)||.200 (2-10)|
|FT Percentage||.786 (11-14)||.708 (17-24)|
ATWATER - 4
COBB - 4
CARGILL - 2
CARSON - 2
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the midst of its strongest play of the season, the FGCU women’s basketball team will travel to Jacksonville University for a 5 p.m. bout on Thursday night. The Atlantic Sun contest will be played at the newly renovated Swisher Gymnasium. Fans can listen to the action live with Tom James on the call through FGCUAthletics.com.
Both teams will honor the ‘Think Pink’ initiative in an effort to support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the Play 4 Kay organization during Thursday’s game. Since its inception in 2007, Play 4Kay has raised over $2.8 million to support women's cancer research. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is the official charity of the initiative. To date, the Fund has contributed over $3.8 million for women's cancer research.
THE GREEN & BLUE
Since falling to Northern Kentucky to begin the month, the Eagles have outscored opponents by an average of 27 points a game to pick up four-straight wins. The Eagles now stand at 18-7 on the season with a league-best record of 12-1 in Atlantic Sun play. The team currently sits tied for first atop the standings with in-state rival Stetson University.
The Eagles have scored 68.1 points per game this season, while holding opponents at 60.1 points scored per contest for a conference-best points allowed. In conference play, FGCU has outscored the opposition by a margin of 16.7 points through 13 games and has held foes to an average of 53.6 points per game.
Eagle opponents have controlled the boards through 25 games this season with a 39.5 to 34.8 advantage, but the Eagles have outrebounded their opponents by a margin of 2.5 boards per game in the last four matchups. FGCU has maintained control of the ball with just 13 turnovers in conference action, while forcing 18.4 miscues per game. The team maintains a turnover margin of +4.2 to rank among the top 10 percent of Division I teams.
Offensively, FGCU has recorded a shooting percentage of 40.1 this season with a clip of 34.2 percent from the perimeter. The team has made a combined 250 shots from long range, with an average of 10 per game to rank second among the nation’s 349 teams.
The Eagles boast three double-digit producers in senior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane High School) and sophomores Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) and Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School). All three players rank among the top-20 scorers in the conference.
Hansen sits atop of the team rankings with an average of 13.9 points per game. The senior captain also leads the squad with 6.9 rebounds per game and ranks fourth in the league with a team-high 52 steals on the season. Hansen has averaged 17 points per game in the last two weeks and has increased her career total to 1,786 points.
Knight adds 13 points per game and leads the team with 67 blocks on the year. Knight ranks among the top-20 nationally with 2.79 blocks per game and leads the Eagles and the conference with 60 made shots from the perimeter.
Haas has continued to add to the Eagles’ offense this season and is currently averaging 12.6 points per contest, while transfers Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Westover High School) and Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School) round out the Eagles’ top point producers with 7.7 and 7.5 points per game, respectively. Cobb has added 61 assists on the year and has been a tremendous force on defense for the Eagles with 43 steals.
Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) entered the Eagles’ starting lineup one month ago and has added eight points per game in conference action. Dunson has also contributed a team-high 63 assists on the season with 57 of those in conference action. Dunson set a new career high as she led all players with 23 points in the Eagle’s win over Mercer last week.
After scoring just 29 points in the first 19 games, sophomore Katie Meador (Salem, Ill./Salem Community High School) added 50 points in the last six contests. Meador put up a career-high 13 points against USC Upstate with five made field goals.
LAST TIME OUT
Led by strong defensive execution, the team defeated Kennesaw State 76-42 in front of a season-high crowd of 2,004 Saturday night at Alico Arena. With the win, the Eagles improved to 18-7 on the season with a 12-1 mark in Atlantic Sun action.
FGCU held the Owls to just 13 points in the first half, while producing a 20-2 run that spanned a period of 10 minutes. After holding Kennesaw to just 23.8 percent from the floor and forcing 13 turnovers in the first half, the Eagles entered halftime with a 31-13 lead. The Green and Blue maintained the momentum in the second half with strong offensive pressure. FGCU shot 57 percent from the floor with a 58 percent mark from the perimeter to outscore KSU 45-29 in the second half and in turn take the win, 76-42.
The victory also guaranteed that the Eagles will host at least the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament on Tuesday, March 11.
Individually, Cobb led the Eagles with a career-high 23 points on the night. Cobb went 7-for-9 from the field with three 3-pointers and sank a perfect 6-of-6 shots from the charity stripe. Cobb also added three steals and three rebounds with no turnovers. Senior Hansen contributed 12 points and seven rebounds for FGCU and also went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
As a unit, the Eagles shot 50 percent from the field with a 37.5 percent clip from 3-point range. The team forced 22 Kennesaw turnovers and outrebounded the Owls 34-26.
For the second-consecutive game, the Eagles never allowed their opponent to score more than four-straight points. The Owl’s point total was the third fewest of an Eagle opponent this season.
FGCU and Jacksonville have met on 13 occasions since 2007. After falling by just four points in the series debut, the Eagles currently hold a 12-game win streak that includes a 55-49 win on Jan. 23. The Green and Blue have outscored the Dolphins by an average of 71 to 57 points per game. FGCU’s largest win was a 98-47 victory in 2010.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE DOLPHINS
Sparked by 16 points from Whitney Knight, the Eagles produced an 18-point run in the first half en route to a 56-49 victory over Jacksonville Jan. 23 at Alico Arena. With the win, the Eagles remained undefeated, while handing the Dolphins their first league loss of the season.
The victory marked the Eagles’ 300th program win in 12 years of action.
After trading the lead seven times in the opening minutes of the contest, the Eagles produced a 20-3 run in a span of just five minutes to close the first half with momentum on their side. Knight gave the Eagles 18 first-half points and sent the home team into the break with a 39-25 advantage. The Dolphins pressured FGCU in the second half but was unable to cut the deficit to fewer than six points. The Green and Blue held on to the lead to remain the only undefeated team in league action.
Knight led all players with 20 points on the night, 18 of which paced the Eagles in the first half. Knight’s defensive prowess helped the Eagles to the win as she recorded a program-record nine blocks and pulled down eight rebounds. Hansen added 15 points for FGCU with nine of the Eagles’ 17 second-half points. Hansen also added a team-high nine rebounds.
As a team, the Eagles outshot the Dolphins by converting 34.7 percent of shots and holding the visiting team to 32.7 percent. The Green and Blue made 18-of-25 shots from the free-throw line but just 4-of-16 from beyond-the-arc. Jacksonville out-performed FGCU on the boards with a 42-35 advantage, but turned the ball over 14 times compared to the Eagles’ nine miscues.
SINCE THE LOSS
After compiling a 44-game win streak in regular season Atlantic Sun action that spanned 1,067 days, the Eagles were defeated 63-43 at Northern Kentucky to begin the month of February. However, since the loss, the Eagles have produced four wins by an average margin of 27 points including a 99-57 win over Mercer on Feb. 13. The team has shot 45 percent from the field with a 39 percent clip from 3-point range and has averaged 80 points per game since falling in Highland Heights. The team has also forced 18.5 opponent turnovers, while recording just 11 miscues per game and has grabbed 10.5 steals. FGCU has outrebounded foes 37.2 to 34.8 in those four games and has seen Hansen, Dunson, Knight, Haas and Meador all produce an average of over 9.8 points.
Backed by a 3-point shooting mark of 34 percent, the Eagles have made an average of 10 long-range shots per game this season. The tally ranks the Eagles second among the nation’s 349 times, behind only Sacramento State, who has tallied 12.7 3-pointers a game this season. Sacramento State is currently on pace to set the NCAA record for 3-point average, previously set by the Eagles in 2012.
Of the Eagles’ 1,703 points scored this season, 44 percent have been scored from distance.
The Green and Blue have a strong history in 3-point shooting, as the Eagles have made 3,287 shots from beyond-the-arc in just 12 years. The team has also made a 3-pointer in 368 of the team’s 369 games and is currently riding a 256 game streak with at least one shot made from the perimeter.
The Eagles currently hold three NCAA records for 3-point shooting including single game (22 made at ETSU last season), single season (342 made in 2012) and average shots made per game (10.7 in 2012).
Individually, 2012 graduate Kelsey Jacobson sits alone as the A-Sun’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers with 330 made in just three seasons.
In her final year as an Eagle, Hansen is ensuring her mark will be left at FGCU. The senior currently holds 11 all-time program records including the top marks in points, rebounds, steals and games started. She most recently set the mark for most minutes played by an FGCU player and has currently seen 3,616 minutes on the court for FGCU. In 123 games, Hansen has averaged 29.4 minutes per game.
Among Atlantic Sun competitors, Hansen ranks 11th in career points with 1,786. If she continues to average 14 points per game, she will finish ranked seventh among the league’s top ever producers. Hansen also ranks among the top 22 producers in rebounds for the Atlantic Sun. With 817 boards, Hansen is on pace to finish among the top 20.
SCOUTING THE HOME TEAM
- The Dolphins of Jacksonville University are 10-13 on the year after starting the season with a 3-8 nonconference mark. The team defeated Kennesaw State, Mercer, North Florida, Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky to move to 5-0 in conference action but after falling to FGCU in January, has lost five of its last seven games. Prior to league play, JU faced two similar opponents to the Eagles in USF and Bethune-Cookman. Jacksonville fell to both teams by scores of 53-82 and 57-49, while the Eagles picked up two wins. Last weekend, the Dolphins handed Lipscomb its first conference win of the season with a 94-74 loss in Nashville and fell to Northern Kentucky in an eight-point game in Highland Heights.
- As a team, the Dolphins have averaged 65.9 points per game, while allowing opponents to score a near exact 66.2 points per contest. JU has shot 39.2 percent from the field this season with foes converting 39.8 percent of shots. The team has made just 27.4 percent of 3-point attempts but has held opponents to just 29 percent from beyond-the-arc. JU leads the league with 10.8 steals per game and forces an average 19.3 turnovers but loses the ball 19.9 times per game. The Dolphins rank near the top of the A-Sun in rebound margin with an average of 4.6 more rebounds per game than their opposition. JU pulls down 42.1 boards per game to rank second in the conference.
- Individually, the Dolphins are led by a duo of double-digit scorers and four other quality contributors. Sophomore Queen Alford leads the team with 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for the Dolphins with 48 steals, while rookie Sharrand Reddick adds 13 points per game and a team-high 41 3-pointers. Reddick has converted 37.8 percent of shots and has made 66 percent of the team’s shots from beyond-the-arc. Four other Dolphins add at least 7.5 points per game. Stephanie Edwards has contributed 8.6 points and has led the team with 88 assists and 49 steals, while Jade Margill, Briona Brown and Madison Scott add 8.2, 8.1 and 7.5 points per contest, respectively.
- After finishing last season with an 11-19 record including a 7-11 mark in A-Sun action, the Dolphins were selected to finish seventh in the conference this season. The team is led by first-year Head Coach Yolette McPhee-McCuin.
On the heels of two perfect Atlantic Sun seasons, the FGCU women’s basketball team was predicted to continue its success as the preseason favorite in both the Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll and the A-Sun Media poll.
It was the fifth-consecutive year that the Eagles’ earned the league’s top vote after winning the A-Sun regular season in four of the last five seasons.
Despite just a 12-year presence, the FGCU women’s basketball team boasts a rich history. Led by 12th-year Head Coach Karl Smesko, the Eagles have produced a program record of 306-63 for a remarkable win percentage of 83 percent. Smesko has produced ten 20-win seasons since the program’s inception with two seasons that eclipsed the 30-win mark.
After playing for the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2007, the team joined the Division I ranks for the 2007-08 season. In their first year of Division I play, the Eagles won 29 games for the fourth most in NCAA history, while producing the third-highest winning percentage of a first-year team at 90.6. After a four-year transition period, the Eagles made the NCAA Tournament in their first year of postseason eligibility. Since making the transition to DI, the Eagles have compiled a record of 172-42 and have finished atop the Atlantic Sun standings four times.
The Eagles will remain in Jacksonville for the weekend with a Saturday afternoon tilt at the University of North Florida set for 4:30 p.m. Following the UNF contest, the Eagles will return home for the final two regular season games at Alico Arena.
For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the women’s basketball program, follow @FGCU_WBB on Twitter and Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook at /FGCUWBB.
2013-14 women’s basketball season tickets and single-game tickets are selling quickly. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.