Monday, 12 March 2007 00:00
Eagles BasketballWritten by WGCU Newsroom
The top ranked and undefeated Florida Gulf Coast University women’s basketball team is one win away from a trip to the Division II national championship tournament later this month in Nebraska.
A win would put the Eagles a step closer to the University’s first-ever national championship. Karl Smesko has been head coach since the program got started 6 years ago. He says while they were a solid 29 and 2 last season…this year’s success surprised him a bit.
“We lost our 2 starting guards…5th year senior starting guards…and we were going to be incorporating some new players, including a couple of freshman. So I knew we’d have a good team…I didn’t realize it’d be this good.”
Smesko describes the 31 and 0 Eagles as a balanced team – with a mixture of youth and experience. He says all the attention that comes along with being ranked number one in the nation is kind of nice…and good for the whole university.
“It’s been exciting to see the buzz created by us being numbers one. And the support we’ve had for these regional games. And we’re getting a lot of new fans, and a lot of people are checking out FGCU athletics for the first time…so that’s definitely a rewarding experience.”
Coach Smesko calls tonight’s game a ‘rematch’.
“Well Delta State is the one who knocked us out of the NCAA tournament last year. They’re ranked 4th in the nation – and are definitely a national championship contender. It’s going to take a tremendous effort on our part to stay in the game and hopefully win it in the end.”
The Lady Statesman…out of Cleveland, Mississippi…beat the Eagles 57 to 48 in the South Region Semifinals last year. So far this year the undefeated Eagles have beaten their opponents by nearly 40 points a game.
The winner of tonight’s game will advance to the Division Two Elite Eight Tournament later this month at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Tip off’s tonight at 7:00 at Alico Arena on the FGCU campus. Tickets are still available.