Senior Joyce Iamstrong (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional South HS/Jefferson College) scored a game-high 19 points as the No. 38 FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Kennesaw State, 74-36, to secure a second consecutive perfect A-Sun regular season on Saturday night at Alico Arena.
“I’m extremely proud of the way we played tonight,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “I’m glad we were able to finish the regular season on a high note and hopefully we can continue playing well at the conference tournament next week.”
With its 19th straight victory, FGCU improves to 25-5 overall (18-0 A-Sun), while the Owls fall to 7-23 (3-15 A-Sun) on the season. The Eagles are now 100-12 all-time in A-Sun play and 11-2 against KSU.
The Green and Blue’s 18-0 conference record solidifies the Eagles as the first A-Sun school to go undefeated in league play in back-to-back seasons and is the fourth occurrence in league history that a team has finished the regular season unblemished. FGCU’s 18 A-Sun victories also tie the 2009-10 ETSU and 2011-12 FGCU squads in the Atlantic Sun record books for the most conference wins in a season.
Winners of five straight against Kennesaw State, the Eagles have now won 39 consecutive A-Sun games overall (including the conference tournament) and 36 straight regular season conference contests. FGCU’s 36 consecutive conference victories rank as the second longest streak in the country behind defending national champion Baylor.
Ranked No. 9 in the CollegInsider.com Mid-Major poll and receiving a vote in the AP Top 25, the Green and Blue forced the Owls into 23 miscues, which led to 23 FGCU points off turnovers. KSU’s 36 points mark the 17th time the Eagles, who lead the conference in scoring defense (52.5 ppg), have held an opponent to 55 points or fewer this season.
The Eagles, who have made at least one three-pointer in 227 consecutive contests and 339 of 340 games in program history, made nine triples on the day, led by four from Iamstrong.
Iamstrong shot 6-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from behind the arc to register 19 points in 25 minutes of action. Redshirt junior Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) finished with 14 points and eight boards. Redshirt senior Brittany Kennedy (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS/Oregon State) recorded with 10 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals, while freshman Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat HS) chipped in with eight points and two boards.
FGCU opened the game with an 11-4 run, highlighted by four points from Hansen and a triple from senior Lerrin Cook (Kearny, Ariz./Ray HS/Yavapai College), over the first 4:36 of the opening period.
After a layup from Sametria Gideon cut the Green and Blue’s lead down to 19-14 (7:08), the Eagles outscored the Owls 12-5 over the final seven minutes to take a 31-19 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Hansen led the Eagles with 10 points seven boards in the first half, while Kennedy added eight points and three assists. FGCU shot 40 percent (12-for-30) from the floor, while limiting KSU to 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) from the field. The Eagles knocked down all three of their 11 attempts from behind the arc in the first half, while forcing Kennesaw State into 11 miscues in the opening 20 minutes.
FGCU started the second half with a 25-5 scoring spurt, capped by a Cook layup, to take a 56-24 lead with 9:01 left on the clock. The Eagles would go on to increase their lead to as many as 39 points before winning the contest 74-36.
Kennesaw State finished the night with a 26.7 percent shooting percentage (12-of-45). Nicole Adams led KSU with 12 points.
The Eagles, who shot 57.7 percent in the second half, finished the contest with a 48.2 shooting percentage. FGCU, who came into the game ranked second in the nation in three-point field goals made per game (9.2), hit nine triples on 19 attempts (47.4 percent), forced KSU into 23 turnovers, scored 34 points in the paint and tallied 16 assists on 27 made baskets.
The No. 1 seeded Eagles return to the court on Wednesday, Mar. 6 when they take on No. 8 seed Kennesaw State at Mercer’s Hawkins Arena in the first round of the 2013 Atlantic Sun Tournament. In the two matchups between the two squads this season FGCU is averaging 68 points, while limiting the Owls to just 35.5 points per game. Tip-off for the third meeting between the teams is set for 12:00 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live on ESPN3.com.
FGCU Athletics is now offering ticket packages for the conference tournament at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Fans can get ticket booklets that include admission into every game of the men’s and women’s tournament (14 games) for $20 (children ages 6-11), $50 (seniors 62 and older and students ages 12-22) or $75 (adults). All tickets are general admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling the FGCU ticket office Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 239-590-7145, in person at the Alico Arena ticket office or by ordering online at www.fgcuathletics.com/tickets.
Fans can follow FGCU on Twitter (@FGCU_WBB), Instagram (@FGCUWbb) and on Facebook by liking FGCU Women’s Basketball (www.Facebook.com/FGCUWbb).