26 Oct Bell Selected to the 2022 Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award Watch List
FORT MYERS, Fla. – As the 2022 season draws closer, FGCU junior guard Kierstan Bell has been selected as one of the 20 watch list candidates for the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The award, in its fifth year, recognizes the top shooting guard in women’s NCAA Division I basketball. This is the latest preseason accolade for Bell who was earlier selected as the ASUN Preseason Player of the Year and as a member of the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Watch List alongside teammate Tishara Morehouse.
“Kierstan is one of the best players in the country. She is a highly intelligent player with a great skill set,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “She was amazing last year, and she is a better player now than a year ago.”
College basketball fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2022 Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10 and then in late February to just five. In March the five finalists will be presented to Ms. Meyers Drysdale and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee where a winner will be selected.
Named after the first player, male or female, named to an All-America Team in four straight college seasons, the annual award in its fifth year recognizes the top shooting guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. The winner of the 2022 Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award will be presented on a to-be-determined date, along with the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five. Additional awards being presented include the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award, the Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award, the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award and the Lisa Leslie Center Award, in addition to the Men’s Starting Five.
Previous winners of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award include Ashley Owusu, Maryland (2021), Aari McDonald, Arizona (2020), Asia Durr, Louisville (2019) and Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State (2018).
Bell, who became the highest rated recruit to ever play for FGCU and went on to have the best season in program history in 2020-21, has been named the 16th best player in NCAA Division I women’s basketball heading into the 2021-22 season by ESPN.com. The junior is already on the brink of 1,000 career points (958) through 56 career games.
In her first season at FGCU last year, Bell had one of the best seasons of any player in the country by averaging 24.3 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.9 steals per game. She became the first player in ASUN history to be tabbed both the conference’s player and newcomer of the year, earned a spot on the Wade Trophy Mid-season Watch List and landed on the NCAA.com Starting Five twice. Along the way, she was a six-time ASUN player of the week and a conference-record 10-time ASUN newcomer of the week. On top of that, she compiled 16 double-doubles last year, which not only shattered the program’s single-season record but ranks third among all Eagles in a career.
She was named the ASUN tournament MVP last year, while leading the Eagles to the ASUN tournament championship and finishing the season as the nation’s fourth-leading scorer. In fact, Bell’s 24.3 points per contest is the sixth best average in the ASUN’s 36-year history. Her 81 3-point field goals made is tied for seventh-most in program history, which also ties her for 12th-most in a single season in ASUN history. In fact, she made 3.11 3-point field goals per game, which is tied for the highest average in conference history.
Last season, Bell earned several nationally prestigious awards and honors including WBCA Honorable Mention All-American, Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American, USBWA Honorable Mention All-American, ASUN Player of the Year (unanimous), and ASUN Newcomer of the Year (unanimous). Bell also established new FGCU single-season records for total points (632), scoring average, field goals made and defensive rebounds per game. She led the ASUN in scoring, rebounding, field goals made and 3-point field goals made while finishing second in blocks and third in steals. Her point total last year is the ninth-most in ASUN history and she became the first player since Shanika Freeman in 2002-03 to eclipse 600 points.
2022 Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award Candidates*
|Jakia Brown-Turner||NC State|
|Zia Cooke||South Carolina|
|Elena Tsineke||South Florida|
|Destiny Pitts||Texas A&M|
|Charlisse Leger-Walker||Washington St.|
*Players can play their way onto and off the list at any point in the 2021-22 season
Season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and single-game tickets for the 2021-22 campaign are now on sale by contacting the FGCU ticket office by phone at 866-FGCU-TIX (866-342-8849) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans can also purchase tickets at the Alico Arena Ticket Office between 9 AM-5 PM during the week. The Eagles will officially open the season on Nov. 9 against Florida Memorial with the non-conference home slate also highlighted by Temple (11/12) and Princeton (12/1).
For more information on the 2022 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award and the latest updates, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #MeyersAward on Twitter and Instagram. Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live on Friday, October 29.
For complete coverage of the women’s basketball program, follow the Eagles on Twitter and Instagram at @FGCU_WBB, on Facebook at /fgcuwbb and online at www.FGCUathletics.com. You can also sign-up to have news on FGCU women’s basketball or other programs delivered directly to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.
About Ann Meyers Drysdale:
Ann Meyers Drysdale’s career escalated women’s basketball to a new level. She was the first high school player to make the United States national team and the first woman to receive a full four-year athletic scholarship to UCLA. Her high-octane approach translated into wins and awards and she finished her impressive career at UCLA owning 12 of 13 school records including becoming the first player to record a quadruple double in UCLA history. A supremely talented all-around player with natural basketball ability and instincts, Meyers Drysdale was the first player, male or female, named to an All-America team in four straight seasons and was named Player of the Year during her senior year. While still at UCLA, she started on the first women’s Olympic team in 1976. After an All-America career, she became the first player drafted into the Women’s Basketball League, earning WBL MVP and making history by becoming the first female player to tryout with an NBA team, the Indiana Pacers, with whom she signed a free agent contract. Meyers Drysdale pushed the envelope in women’s basketball, bringing a feel and sense for the game that few players ever exhibited. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2007, she was the 1st American Women to be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. In 2012, Meyers Drysdale became one of the first annual naming honorees on the women’s side of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) with the organization’s National Women’s Player of the Year. Since retiring from professional play, she has had a very successful career as an NBA and WNBA executive, as well as a color commentator for the NBA, WNBA and the Olympic Games in 1984, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. In 2005 she received the ASAMA Ronald Reagan Media Award and in 2019, she was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Pac-12 Hall of Honor.
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SUPPORT THE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PROGRAM
Do you enjoy watching or following the FGCU women’s basketball program? Would you like to play a role in the growth of the program and help take it to heights never before experienced? If so, you can reach out to Director of Advancement, Matt Ring, about opportunities to make an impact on the experiences of our student-athletes. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or by office phone at 239-745-4434.
FGCU head coach Karl Smesko maintains a record of 580-125 (.823) overall in his career, which is the third-highest winning percentage among active Division I coaches behind only UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey. He has also led the Eagles to a 217-17 (.927) mark in ASUN regular season play and a 27-2 (.931) record in ASUN tournament play. Over the past 10 seasons, he has guided FGCU to a 153-5 (.968) record in conference play with six undefeated seasons. The 11-time ASUN Coach of the Year has led the program to 11-straight 25-win seasons and 17-consecutive 20-win campaigns, including 30-plus wins in four of the past seven years. On top of all that, the Eagles are 519-98 all-time since Smesko started the program in the 2002-03 season, and the Green and Blue’s .841 all-time winning percentage is the best in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history.
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 13+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 42 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 23 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, and 2020 Fall semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.
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