10 Nov Women’s Basketball Dominates Florida Memorial in Season Opener
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s basketball team left no doubt in Tuesday’s season-opener against Florida Memorial as they defeated the Lions, 105-41, at Alico Arena.
“There are still a lot of things we can clean up,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “We know we have games against really good teams coming up and we are going to have to be better in some areas, but overall, I’m pretty pleased with the effort that I saw from our players and hopefully they’ll have the right mindset to making some corrections.”
Reigning ASUN Player of the Year junior Kierstan Bell (Alliance, Ohio/Canton McKinley/Ohio State) picked up where she left off from last year, scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds in just 20 minutes. Bell is now just 20 points away from 1,000 for her career.
Three other Eagles scored in double figures as FGCU reached the century mark for the 23rd time in program history and scored the most points in a game since a 105-71 victory over Lipscomb in the 2020 ASUN Tournament quarterfinals. Senior Tishara Morehouse (Milwaukee, Wis./Rufus King/Western Nebraska) scored 15 and dished out a game-high six assists while graduate students Kendall Spray (Mt. Juliet, Tenn./Wilson Central/Clemson/UT Martin) and Karli Seay (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor/LSU/Western Nebraska CC) each chipped in 12 points in their Eagle debuts.
The Eagles dominated all facets of the game as they had a 44-16 points in the paint advantage, 37-7 points off turnovers edge, and 42-11 advantage in fast-break points. They also outrebounded the Lions, 53-33.
FGCU made 14 three-pointers, two above their season average from a season ago when they led the nation in three-point field goals per game. Tonight also marks the 505th straight game for the Eagles with a made three-pointer.
The Green and Blue jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, taking a 31-12 lead into the second quarter. The Eagles extended their lead to 61-23 at the break as they scored 60 points in the first half for just seventh time in program history.
60-Point First Halves
|Date||Team||1st Half Points|
|Jan. 22, 2005||Florida Memorial||62|
|Feb. 2, 2007||Puerto Rico-Cayey||65|
|Feb. 27, 2014||Lipscomb||64|
|Nov. 5, 2019||FIU||61|
|March 7, 2020||Lipscomb*||65|
|Feb. 27, 20||North Florida||62|
|Nov. 9, 2021||Florida Memorial||61|
* ASUN Tournament
The second half was more of the same for FGCU as they outscored the Lions 44-18 after the break.
The Eagles had 12 different players in the scoring column including seniors Kaela Webb (Pontiac, Mich./Detroit Country Day/Detroit Mercy/Providence) and Milan Schimmel (Mission, Ore./Nixyaawii Communty School/Cincinnati/Eastern Florida State/Hutchinson CC) in their first games in Alico Arena.
With the win, the Eagles are now 15-5 in season openers and 18-2 in home openers. They also improve to 14-0 all-time against Florida Memorial.
The Eagles will return to Alico Arena on Friday when they take on the Temple Owls. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.
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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by office phone at 239-745-4434.
FGCU head coach Karl Smesko maintains a record of 581-125 (.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 520-98 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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