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FGCU basketball cracks AP Top-25 poll for first time ever

Whitney Knight shoots a free throw during FGCU's game against Southern Mississsippi earlier this season. (EN Photo / Kelli Krebs)
Whitney Knight shoots a free throw during FGCU’s game against Southern Mississsippi earlier this season. (EN Photo / Kelli Krebs)


The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s basketball team cracked The Associated Press Top-25 College Basketball Poll for the first time in program history. On Monday afternoon, the Eagles landed the No. 22 spot above James Madison University, George Washington University and Syracuse.

Tuesday afternoon, the program received the No. 24 spot in the USA TODAY Top 25 coach’s poll to add to the program’s growing list of firsts.

“We talk about it at points in different years our goal is to get in the Top 25,” head coach Karl Smesko said in an interview with the NCAA on Monday. “The last couple weeks we’ve reiterated that goal that we want to get in the Top 25. Now the next logical talk is what you have to do to stay in the Top 25. We’ll have that talk next time we’re together.

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After  weeks of narrowly missing a spot, FGCU’s 74 votes this week and an official RPI of 16 not only cracked the top-25, but landed the No. 22 spot.

The Eagles, who haven’t lost since late November, hold the nation’s fourth-best win streak, behind No. 1 Connecticut, No. 3 Baylor and No. 16 Princeton.

These Eagles just keep on winning

“We’ve had it as a goal for our program,” Smesko said of a national ranking in an interview with The News-Press. “It’s nice to receive the national recognition. Now the thing is to understand it helps increase motivation for opponents and be ready for it.”

During the weekend, the Eagles earned two more conference wins to push their 18-game win-streak to a 23-2 record and continue a perfect conference record with just one more win away from its fifth consecutive regular-season conference title.

The Eagles hope to keep the streak alive while they travel to their final conference games against Kennesaw State, USC Upstate and North Florida during the two weeks before returning back to the nest for their final regular season conference match up against Jacksonville.


AP Top-25
1 Connecticut (35) 24-1 875
2 South Carolina 24-1 831
3 Baylor 24-1 809
4 Notre Dame 23-2 772
5 Maryland 22-2 719
6 Tennessee 22-3 712
7 Oregon State 23-2 639
8 Louisville 22-3 624
9 Florida State 23-3 571
10 Duke 19-6 527
11 Kentucky 19-6 526
12 Arizona State 22-4 468
13 Iowa 21-4 453
14 Mississippi State 24-4 421
15 Texas A&M 19-6 361
16 Princeton 23-0 350
17 North Carolina 20-6 344
18 Stanford 19-7 296
19 Rutgers 19-6 274
20 Chattanooga 22-3 209
21 Nebraska 19-7 122
22 FGCU 23-2 74
23 James Madison 22-2 62
24 George Washington 22-3 59
25 Syracuse 18-8 41

Others receiving votes in AP Poll: Oklahoma 38, California 36, Seton Hall 20, South Florida 19, Northwestern 18, Gonzaga 16, Texas 12, DePaul 12, Green Bay 12, Dayton 11, LSU 9, Oklahoma State 8, Washington 6, Miami 5, Minnesota 4, Georgia 4, Arkansas-little Rock 2, Quinnipiac 1, Western Kentucky 1, Pittsburgh 1, Wichita State 1

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