Saturday, March 03, 2012
MACON, Ga. - The top-seeded FGCU Eagles downed No. 2 Stetson Hatters, 67-39, to finish their undefeated run through the Atlantic Sun season in the 2012 General Shale Women's Basketball Championship. The 28-point margin of victory in the championship final is the third-largest in finals history.
FGCU (29-2) followed an 18-0 regular-season conference slate with three tournament wins by a combined margin of victory of 67, which is the most since FIU won by a combined 103 points in 1998. The 29 wins are tied for the conference record with FIU in the 1997-98 season.
The Eagles are only the second team in conference history to post an undefeated regular season and claim the tournament title with FIU completing the feat in 1993 after a 12-0 regular season. FGCU now awaits its seeding for the NCAA Tournament where it will be making its first-ever appearance in its first year of eligibility.
Read the Atlantic Sun Insider Column: FGCU's Thomas Understands Powerhouse Programs
A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year and First Team All-Conference member, Sarah Hansen led the Eagles in scoring with 16 points on four three-pointers. She added three rebounds, three assists and three steals to garner the Tournament Most Valuable Player title. All-Academic member Courtney Chihil chipped in 15 points to push her career total over 1,000 points and earn All-Tournament Team honors. Senior Eglah Griffin added 11 points and four rebounds in the final to join Hansen and Chihil on the team.
All-Freshman Team member, Whitney Knight, posted nine points, six rebounds and a game-high three blocks to give FGCU four student-athletes on the All-Tournament Team. With 335 three-pointers this season, the Eagles are only five away from tying the NCAA single-season record of 340, which is held by the 2009-10 Morehead State squad.
Stetson's Victoria McGowan, the 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year, led all scorers with 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The junior guard grabbed the Hatters' spot on the All-Tournament Team after also posting a triple-double in the semifinal contest vs. Jacksonville. McGowan joined Chihil in passing the 1,000-point plateau for her career in the game.
The Eagles, who lead the nation in three-point field goals made at 10.8, hit 11 triples against the Hatters. Six of the three-pointers came in the first half to help the Eagles to a 35-23 advantage. Chihil and McGowan tied for the halftime lead in points with 10. FGCU's largest advantage in the contest came with 1:37 in the second half when the Eagles upped the score to 67-39 where it remained for rest of the game.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.