ATLANTA — The ASUN officially announced its 2021-22 women’s basketball conference schedule on Tuesday afternoon, while the FGCU women’s basketball program also finalized non-conference matchups with Princeton and LSU.
Along with a 16-game divisional ASUN schedule, the Eagles will travel to LSU on Nov. 14 for a 1 p.m. matchup in Baton Rouge, which will feature the first-ever matchup between two of the top five winningest Division I women’s basketball head coaches of all-time – LSU head coach Kim Mulkey (3rd) and FGCU head coach Karl Smesko (5th).
Later, FGCU will host Princeton at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1. The visiting Tigers, who defeated the Eagles 67-53 on Nov. 27, 2019 in the first-ever matchup between the two programs, haven’t played a game since knocking off Cornell on March 7, 2020 to finish off a 26-1 season before Covid-19 prevented their postseason run and ultimately canceled their entire 2020-21 campaign.
“We’re excited to compete this year,” Smesko said. “LSU and Princeton will be two tough matchups that will help us prepare for another competitive conference season.”
In conference play, the ASUN welcomes Eastern Kentucky, Central Arkansas and Jacksonville State as new members. They are also splitting its 12 teams into divisions with the East Division including Kennesaw State, FGCU, Jacksonville, North Florida, Liberty and Stetson, while the West Division is comprised of Central Arkansas, Bellarmine, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Lipscomb and North Alabama.
For FGCU, the conference season opens at home on Jan. 5 against North Florida before rival Liberty heads to Fort Myers on Jan. 15. The Eagles will also welcome Eastern Kentucky to Alico Arena on Jan. 27, which will be the first matchup between the two programs since November 2007. Meanwhile, Bellarmine makes its Alico Arena debut on Jan. 29 after both games between the two teams last year came in Louisville.
The home slate also includes matchups against North Alabama (2/9), Stetson (2/12), Kennesaw State (2/17) and Jacksonville (2/26), which will be the regular season finale. On the road, the Eagles will meet Jacksonville State (1/22) and Central Arkansas (2/3) for the first time, while traditional foes Jacksonville (1/8), Kennesaw State (1/12), Stetson (1/19), Lipscomb (2/5), North Florida (2/19) and Liberty (2/24) also loom.
The rest of the non-conference schedule will be released as it’s finalized.
FGCU’s 2021-22 Conference Schedule
1/5 – vs North Florida
1/8 – @ Jacksonville
1/12 – @ Kennesaw State
1/15 – vs Liberty
1/19 – @ Stetson
1/22 – @ Jacksonville State
1/27 – vs Eastern Kentucky
1/29 – vs Bellarmine
2/3 – @ Central Arkansas
2/5 – @ Lipscomb
2/9 – vs North Alabama
2/12 – vs Stetson
2/17 – vs Kennesaw State
2/19 – @ North Florida
2/24 – @ Liberty
2/26 – vs Jacksonville
Home games in bold
The Eagles recently announced the return of Kerstie Phills, who will rejoin a squad that is returning 94.7 percent of the offensive production from a team that went 26-3 overall and 16-0 in ASUN play. FGCU won the regular season and tournament championships, reeled off 25 consecutive victories and became just the second version of the Green and Blue to finish among the top 25 in both the AP and Coaches Polls.
Following that, the Green and Blue also added a trio of talented transfers this offseason in Kaela Webb (Detroit Mercy), Kendall Spray (Clemson) and Karli Seay (LSU), which gives FGCU 110 points per game in scoring based on 2020-21 scoring averages, and that was before adding Phills.
For those interested in purchasing season tickets for next year, fill out the interest form here. New ticket deposits are $100, which will get you on a priority wait list. For any questions, feel free to contact the FGCU ticket office by phone at 866-FGCU-TIX (866-342-8849) or by email at [email protected].
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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 take it to heights never before experienced? If so, you can reach out to Director of Advancement, Matt Ring, about opportunities to make an impact on the experiences of our student-athletes. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by office phone at 239-745-4434.
FGCU head coach Karl Smesko maintains a record of 580-125 (.823) overall in his career, which is the third-highest winning percentage among active Division I coaches behind only UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey. He has also led the Eagles to a 217-17 (.927) mark in ASUN regular season play and a 27-2 (.931) record in ASUN tournament play. Over the past 10 seasons, he has guided FGCU to a 153-5 (.968) record in conference play with six undefeated seasons. The 11-time ASUN Coach of the Year has led the program to 11-straight 25-win seasons and 17-consecutive 20-win campaigns, including 30-plus wins in four of the past seven years. On top of all that, the Eagles are 519-98 all-time since Smesko started the program in the 2002-03 season, and the Green and Blue’s .841 all-time winning percentage is the best in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history.
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/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 13+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 42 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 23 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, and 2020 Fall semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.