Tuesday, March 05, 2013
MACON, Ga. - The 2013 Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball season has been filled with great team accomplishments and exceptional individual performances which continue to accentuate the institutions and the outstanding student-athletes of the Atlantic Sun Conference. As the spotlight moves into focus on the 2013 General Shale Atlantic Sun Championship, the A-Sun is proud to recognize the cast of new and familiar student-athletes highlighted by the 2013 Atlantic Sun All-Conference Team.
Sarah Hansen does it all for FGCU, as she leads the Eagles in scoring rebounding, blocks and minutes. Also the A-Sun’s leader in scoring, Hansen is the first student-athlete in FGCU history to earn Capital One Academic All-American status. She started every game this season and scored in double figures in 28 of 30 games. Highlighting Hansen’s season was her career-high of 30 points in FGCU’s win over LSU.
Three-time A-Sun Player of the Week Victoria McGowan was the only player in the league to rank among the top 10 leaders in scoring, rebounding, and assists. McGowan scored in double figures 25 times out of Stetson’s 28 games, tallied four double-doubles and posted the league’s only triple-double on Feb. 18 against Lipscomb. The Senior CLASS Award Nominee’s 15.8 points per game ranked third in the Atlantic Sun in scoring in conference games, and her three-point field goal percentage ranks in the top 10 nationally.
Precious Bridges exhibited in 2013 that you don’t earn a league-best four A-Sun Player of the Week honors for nothing. The sophomore finished first in the A-Sun Conference with 194 field goals made and second in the league with 16.9 points per game. Bridges also led the league with 16.7 points per game in A-Sun play and scored 20 or more points on a dozen occasions this season. Bridges’ season highlight came on the road at Lipscomb when she scored a career-high and conference season-high of 36 points on 14-of-23 shooting.
After missing last season due to injury, Mercer’s Kendra Grant returns to rank seventh in the conference in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game. Grant also led the Bears and finished tied for 14th in the A-Sun with 35 made three-pointers this season. She made five three-pointers in two games this season, including Mercer's home win over ETSU on Jan. 21 when she tied her career-high with 24 points.
Leading a team rich with young talent, A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year Brittany Kennedy led the A-Sun in steals per game and ranked second in assists & assist-to-turnover ratio. She also ranked 35th in the nation in steals and led the team in steals 21 times and blocks on 10 occasions. While limiting teams’ top scorers well below their averages, Kennedy contributed 10.3 points per game, helping the Eagles to their second straight 18-0 regular season and third straight regular season championship.
Along with leading all A-Sun freshmen in scoring and rebounding, freshman Queen Alford also led the Dolphins in scoring and helped her team to wins in four of their final five games to claim the Freshman of the Year honors. Her stretch of double figure games in her last nine straight games, including 25 against USC Upstate, helped secure JU’s spot in the championship.
A-Sun Coach of the Year Karl Smesko helped his young FGCU squad to a record-setting season in 2013. The Eagles recorded their second consecutive perfect 18-0 mark, becoming the first A-Sun team in history to go undefeated in back-to-back seasons. FGCU has now won 39 consecutive A-Sun games overall and 36 straight regular season conference contests, the 36 victories ranking as the second-longest streak in the country behind defending national champion Baylor.
The A-Sun also honored five student-athletes on the second team led by two Hatters, Sasha Sims and Shanasa Sanders. USC Upstate's senior Tee'Ara Copney and JU's Queen Alford made the second team, as well as A-Sun newcomer Northern Kentucky's Tiara Hopper.
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: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.