KENNESAW, Ga. – Paced 30 points from Kierstan Bell (Alliance, Ohio/Township McKinley/State of Ohio) and a career-high 17 points from Karli Seay (Flossmoor, IL/Homewood-Flossmoor/LSU/Western Nebraska CC), the No. 23 FGCU women’s basketball team edged Kennesaw State, 100-65, Wednesday night at the KSU Convocation Center for their seventh straight win. The Eagles improved to 14-1 on aggregate and remain unbeaten at 3-0 in ASUN play, while the Owls fell to 4-9 on the year and 0-2 in the league.
The win extended FGCU’s road winning streak to an NCAA-best 24 games as well as its 25-game winning streak against foes ASUN. The 100 points were second in the season behind the 105 scored against the Florida Memorial in the season opener and were second in the series all-time with Kennesaw State. The Eagles scored 104 points against the Owls in the first of two meetings at Fort Myers last season.
“We had a really effective game offensively. Kierstan and Karli had good games,” said the head coach Karl Smesko. “I was also very pleased with Kiki and Seneca’s performance.”
The FGCU headliner was Bell who had his fifth 30andpoints game of the season. The junior was 12 of 19 from the floor while adding five assists, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Seay’s career-best 17 points came on 7-of-11 shooting, including three triples while shooting six boards. Kendall Vaporizer added 10 points for the Eagles by double figures as she knocked down three triples in the contest. A total of 12 different players scored in the match. Kierra Adams (Lawrenceville, GA/Brookwood) had a career-high seven points, while Seneca Hackley (Coloardo Springs, Colorado/St. Mary’s) also added seven points to score the second most for a game this season.
The Owls had four players in double figures led by 14 points Amani Johnson and 13 points from Jah’Che Whitfield. Amaris Baker added 11 points, while Gabi Legister had 10 points. Gillian Piccolino had a game-high 13 rebounds.
Overall, FGCU completed 38 of 80 attempts (40%), while KSU was 26 of 51 (56%). The Eagles made 17 three-pointers to the Owls’ five and held a 31-to-4 advantage in points on turnovers. Kennesaw State turned the ball over 20 times to just five for FGCU which had 10 interceptions in the game.
KSU quickly took a 12-7 lead at 6:32 of the first quarter after hitting five of its first six shots. It was as close as the Owls would get the rest of the night as the Eagles closed the opening stanza with a 21-6 run highlighted by nine points from Bell and seven from Tishara Morehouse (Milwaukee, Wis./Rufus King/Western Nebraska CC).
After taking a 49-35 lead at intermission, FGCU used a 21-on-5 run to close out the third quarter and build a 79-51 lead. The race was sparked by three triples from Spray and another from Seay.
The Eagles added five more three-pointers in the fourth quarter as Hackley, Adams, Maddie Antenucci (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill), and Kaela Webb (Pontiac, Michigan/Providence/Detroit Mercy) all connected beyond the arc. Webb’s triple with 1:43 to go gave FGCU their biggest lead of the night, 100-63.
The Eagles will return home for a doubleheader on Saturday against Liberty alongside the men’s team. Women will tip at 4 p.m. and men at 7 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on ESPN+. It will also be the Laces of Love game where fans are encouraged to bring shoes to donate to local youngsters.
For full coverage of the women’s basketball schedule, follow the Eagles on Twitter and Instagram to @FGCU_WBB, the Facebook at /fgcuwbb and online at www.FGCUathletics.com. You can also sign up to receive news about FGCU women’s basketball or other programs straight to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.
IT NEEDS A TEAM to achieve our most recent goal – a $10 million campaign to address the needs of student-athletes for continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, strength and conditioning as well as needs of the department for expansion and improvement of facilities as well as mentoring and leadership training for coaches and staff. The name embodies our mission and the goal of the EAGLE – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence campaign. Join our team and commit your donation today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!
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 it reach heights never reached before? If so, you can contact Director of Advancement, Matt Ring, to learn about opportunities to impact the experiences of our student-athletes. He can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by desk phone at 239-745-4434.
FGCU Head Coach Karl Smesko maintains a career record of 594-126 (.825) overall, which is the third-highest winning percentage among active Division I coaches behind only UConn’s Geno Auriemma and LSU’s Kim Mulkey. He also led the Eagles to a 220-17 (.929) ASUN regular season record and 27-2 (.931) ASUN tournament record. Over the past 11 seasons, he has guided FGCU to a 156-5 (.969) conference record with six undefeated seasons. The 11-time ASUN Coach of the Year has led the program to 11 straight 25-win seasons and 17 straight 20-win campaigns, including more than 30 wins in four of the last seven years. On top of all that, the Eagles have an all-time 534-99 (.843) record since Smesko started the program in the 2002-03 season, and the Greens’ all-time .843 winning percentage. and Blues is the best in NCAA Division I. the history of women’s basketball.
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/adminservices/foodpantry and use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
ABOUT THE FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 87 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of DI playoff eligibility, the Eagles have brought together 43 teams or individuals competing in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs ranked in the top 25 nationally in their respective sports, including women’s basketball (#25, 2021-22), beach volleyball (#20, 2021) and men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s football. (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Vert et Bleu posted the department’s best sixth place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top 100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and Florida State’s top seven teams won the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. FGCU also collectively achieved a record 3.50 classroom GPA in the fall 2020 semester and outperformed the general undergraduate college population for 24 consecutive semesters. The Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters each saw another milestone achieved, with all 15 programs achieving a team GPA of 3.0 or higher in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two finalists for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.