13 Nov Women’s Basketball Hits the Road to Take on LSU
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After starting the season 2-0 with a pair of victories at Alico Arena, the FGCU women’s basketball team hits the road for the first time on Sunday when they travel to Baton Rouge to take on LSU. Tipoff from the Maravich Center is set for 1:30 p.m.
The matchup to watch in this game is not between any players, but rather between the two head coaches. LSU head coach Kim Mulkey is one of just two active coaches with a better winning percentage (.859) than FGCU head coach Karl Smesko (.823). Both are only behind Geno Auriemma (.886)
Sunday’s contest will be available to steam on SECN+. Fans will also be able to listen to the game as well on lsusports.net/audio.
This will be the fourth meeting all-time between the two programs and the second time the Tigers and Eagles have played in Baton Rouge. LSU holds a 2-1 advantage in the series and won the only matchup at the Maravich Center in 2013.
RAINING THREES IN ALICO
FGCU is 3,035-for-8,756 (.347) from the 3-point line inside Alico Arena all-time. Overall, the Eagles led the nation in three-pointers made per game for the second season in a row and fourth time in program history, averaging 11.8 per contest in 2020-21. The Eagles have also made a three-pointer in 506 straight games.
BEST IN NCAA HISTORY
FGCU entered the 2021-22 season with an all-time winning percentage of .841, the highest among all Division I institutions. In fact, the Eagles are the only Division I team above .800 as Tennessee sits in second at .799.
|# School||1st Yr.||Yrs.||Record||Pct.|
|5. La. Tech||1975||47||1,153-362||.761|
|6. Notre Dame||1978||43||1,022-361||.739|
|7. Green Bay||1974||47||1,039-370||.737|
RING THE BELL
Junior Kierstan Bell (Alliance, Ohio/Canton McKinley/Ohio State) is coming off one of the greatest seasons in FGCU and ASUN history and picked up where she left in the first two games. Against Florida Memorial, Bell scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds while playing just 20 minutes before dropping 26 points and grabbing nine rebounds against Temple.
A year ago, Bell was named the ASUN Player of the Year, the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year, and an Honorable Mention All-American by both the AP and the WBCA after averaging 24.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game
To no one’s surprise, Bell entered this season as the ASUN Preseason Player of the Year. She was also named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List, the Wooden Award Top 50 watchlist, the Wade Top 30 watchlist, the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year watch list as well as the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award watch list, which recognizes the top shooting guard in all of college basketball.
Most Career Double-Doubles
FGCU’s Division I Era (2007-present)
Senior Tishara Morehouse (Milwaukee, Wis./Rufus King/Western Nebraska CC) joined Bell on the ASUN Preseason Team as she was also a unanimous selection. She was also named to the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year watch list alongside Bell as well. In the season-opener against Florida Memorial, Morehouse scored 15 points and dished out a game-hight six assists.
GRADUATE TRANSFERS SHINE
Graduate students Kendall Spray (Mt. Juliet, Tenn./Wilson Central/Clemson/UT Martin) and Karli Seay (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor/LSU/Western Nebraska CC) each scored 12 points in their debuts for the Green and Blue. Spray followed that performance with 15 points on five three-pointers against Temple, giving her 372 in her career, second-most among active players.
THREE-POINT DEFENSE SUCCESS
The Eagles not only shine from behind the arc on offense, but are also one of the top teams in the nation in three-point defense. Through two games, Eagles’ opponents are shooting just 9.5% from distance which includes an 0-11 performance by Temple. The 11 missed threes without a make is the most by an FGCU opponent in the division I era.
Tyra Cox (Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland Prep/William & Mary) finished last season with more steals than turnovers, her third straight season accomplishing the feat for FGCU. She became just the second player in program history with three such seasons, but will have to do one more time to catch her former teammate, Alyssa Blair, who did it all four years for the Green and Blue.
The Eagles take care of the ball like few else in NCAA women’s basketball. Every single player on the team had a positive assist to turnover ratio as the team ranked third nationally at 1.48 in 2020-21. Emma List ranked 41st in the country individually at 2.21.
THE WINNING DOESN’T STOP
Coach Smesko’s game preparation is one of the most crucial factors in the Eagles’ all-time success. Overall, in 20 seasons at FGCU, he holds a record of 195-33 (.855) in games where he has four or more days to prepare.
FGCU has won 36 more games over the past seven-plus seasons than any other Division I team in the state of Florida.
On pace to reach 600 career wins faster than legendary coaches such as Pat Summitt (734 games) and Tara VanDerveer (767 games), FGCU head coach Karl Smesko has compiled a 582-125 record (.823) in his career, which ranks him as the third-winningest active Division I head coach behind Geno Auriemma (1,119-144, .886) and Kim Mulkey (633-104, .859). Furthermore, he passed VanDerveer (1,125-255, .815) in 2017-18 to become the fifth-winningest Division I head coach of all-time – behind Auriemma, Leon Barmore (576-87, .869), Mulkey and Summit (1,098-208, .841). If that isn’t enough, he is the 10th-winningest active head coach across all divisions, as well as the 12th-winningest such coach all-time.
AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
Entering this year, FGCU produced 205 wins over the past seven seasons, which is the most among all mid-majors and fifth-most among any Division I program – behind UConn (240), Baylor (228), South Carolina (210) and Maryland (206). In fact, it puts them ahead of schools such as Louisville (204), Mississippi State (196), Notre Dame (195), Stanford (199), Oregon State (177) and Oregon (172). On top of that, the program is one of only five in the nation at the Division I level with four 30-win seasons during that stretch – joining UConn, Baylor, Notre Dame and South Carolina.
The Eagles have registered a level of sustained success matched by only two other Division I schools as Coach Smesko has guided FGCU to 11 straight 25-win seasons. Baylor and UConn are the only other teams to have 11 straight. FGCU has also recorded 17-straight 20-win seasons dating back to 2004-05.
FUN WITH NUMBERS AND STUFF
|Double-Digit Assist Games|
RAINING THREES LEGACY
At FGCU, Smesko has turned FGCU into one of the premier 3-point shooting teams in the nation as his teams have made a combined 5,762-for-16,694 (.345) from long range over his 19+ years. In fact, the Eagles have made at least one 3-point field goal in 506 straight games, which includes every game in the program’s Division I era. In 2020-21, the Eagles led the nation in 3-point field goals made (343), 3-point field goals attempted (1,030) and 3-point field goals per game (11.8) for the second season in a row. In 2017-18, the Green and Blue made an NCAA Division I single season record 431 3-pointers, which remains a record entering this season.
Here’s FGCU’s year-by-year 3-point history:
FGCU has also made at least 10 or more 3-point field goals in a single game 302 times, including a single-season record 25 times in 2017-18. They have at least 15 games with at least 10 or more in each of the past 13 seasons.
Here’s a list of FGCU’s all-time games with at least 10 made 3-pointers:
On top of that, the 2017-18 team produced three of the program’s seven games all-time with at least 20 or more, and the Eagles have added four games with 19 over the past two seasons. The program’s single-game record of 22 was initially set on Jan. 12, 2013 in a 97-60 win over ETSU (22-for-43) on the road, and the 2017-18 team tied the mark at Abilene Christian (22-for-45) on Dec. 3 and at home against Lipscomb (22-for-44) on March 7. The latter represents the program’s postseason mark, and they own three of the top seven single-game totals in NCAA Division I history entering the 2021-22 season. In fact, there has been only 32 times since 1988 that an NCAA Division I team had made at least 20 3-point field goals in a game, and FGCU owns seven of those, or 21.9 percent.
In 2020-21, FGCU became the first team in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to record six straight seasons with at least 1,000 3-point field goal attempts. Sacramento State achieved the yearly benchmark over four straight seasons from 2013-17 while DePaul’s three-year streak ended last season. The 2013-14 FGCU squad joined Sacramento State as the first two teams to attempt 1,000 in a season.
Prior to breaking the single-season record for made 3-point field goals in 2017-18, FGCU claimed a then single-season NCAA record 342 in 2011-12, which was the first year they were eligible for NCAA statistical championships. Had they been eligible in 2010-11, they also would have led the nation with 350 – 26 more than the second-place team. The 2009-10 team would have finished second. In fact, over the past nine years, the Green and Blue have finished among the nation’s top five in made 3-point field goals every year, including four first-place finishes.
Here’s how FGCU has finished nationally in total 3-point field goals made since 2011-12:
In addition to the aforementioned record, the 2011-12 team also set a then NCAA single season record for most 3-point field goals made per game at 10.7, and they followed it up in 2012-13 by making 9.4 per game, which was the most in the nation. In 2017-18, FGCU joined DePaul as the first two teams to eclipse 400 made 3-point field goals in a season in NCAA Division I history. In fact, the Eagles stood out in the NCAA’s deepest 3-point shooting year as eight teams averaged 10 or more made per game in 2017-18, which was equal to the total from the previous two seasons combined and the same as 2009-15 combined. Six teams reached the milestone in 2018-19, four more followed in 2019-20, and five more a season ago. Among the 17 teams to average at least 10 or more made per game over a single season, FGCU is the only school to do it six times.
Here’s how FGCU has finished nationally in total 3-point field goals made per game since 2011-12:
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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 582-125 (.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 521-98 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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