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FGCU women’s basketball team goes for 40th consecutive A-Sun win this weekend

The Eagles will go for their 40th consecutive conference win when they hit the road to take on the Kennesaw State Owls at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s one thing to win these conference games at home,” said head coach Karl Smesko, after last Saturday’s win over USC Upstate. “But now we have to go on the road and show some toughness and continue to improve even while we travel.”

Florida Gulf Coast University beat Kennesaw State by 27 or more points in both of the games last season.

When the Eagles come back home Jan. 23 to take on Jacksonville University, the women will be going for their 50th consecutive home conference win — a record dating back to Jan. 10, 2009. The women are 58-1 all-time at home in conference play.

Last Saturday, the Eagles beat the USC Upstate Spartans 72-45 at Alico Arena. The Eagles dominated on the defensive side in the first half, holding Upstate to only 22 percent shooting and creating a commanding halftime lead, 36-19.

“I thought our defensive play in the first half was excellent. It was probably our best defensive performance in quite some time,” Smesko said. “We had a game plan that I thought was well executed, we had great intensity on defense, everyone was doing their part on the boards and it was really encouraging. It gave us a little bit of a cushion even though we shot the ball poorly.” Redshirt junior Jenna Cobb added, “We’ve really been emphasizing our defense lately and helping each other out. I think tonight was just being in the right positions.” The Eagles stretched their advantage to a game-high 29-point lead with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the second half.

Redshirt sophomore Whitney Knight and Cobb both had 12 points and sophomore Katie Meador grabbed eight boards to lead FGCU to victory.

The Eagles earned a season-high 50 rebounds and 17 steals.

The win moved the Eagles to 9-7 on the season and 3-0 in conference play.

Last Thursday, FGCU also knocked off East Tennessee State University, 73-58. Knight led the charge with 21 points and three other Eagles scored more than 14 points in the win.

Sophomore DyTiesha Dunson had a career-high six assists against the Bucs and the Eagles shot a strong 36.4 percent from three-point distance.

The Eagles will also take on Mercer at 3 p.m. this Saturday. Last season, like Kennesaw State, the women beat Mercer by 27 points or more in both of the games.

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