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NCAA Women's Tournament Bracket: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles preview

Eagles dig the long ball- but maybe not as much as they used to.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Who? The Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast University.

When do they play in the first round? The Eagles will play Oklahoma State on Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m. ET.

What? FGCU was founded with a strong environmental bent, so their colors are green and blue, and Azul (whose name means blue in Spanish) is supposed to represent the university's relationship with the environment.

Where? Fort Myers, Florida, in Lee County.

Why? They won the Atlantic Sun conference tournament.

How? Whitney Knight had 21 points and seven rebounds in a game that FGCU controlled most of the way. Kanesha Atwater added 13 points and 13 rebounds in the 60-43 win over Northern Kentucky.

Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference, they were first and undefeated, three games ahead of Stetson.

RPI: 19

SOS: 112

Record: 30-2 (14-0 Atlantic Sun)

Good wins: George Washington. They've survived a lot of strong mid-major deathmatches.

Bad losses: At Auburn.

Who's running this show? Karl Smesko, since 2001, who has won five straight COY awards from the Atlantic Sun.

Extra, Extra! The Naples News and the News-Press. (I was especially impressed by the Naples News.)


Taking about half their shots from deep, the Eagles love the long ball. It hasn't always loved them back, at 35% for the season. They take care of the ball, though, at just over ten turnovers per game. Junior guard Whitney Knight leads them in scoring at 14.7, with junior Kanesha Atwater second at 14.0 points. I am raising eyebrows at the 6-3 Knight being listed as a guard, since she also leads the team in rebounds with 6.3 and blocks with 2.6.

Florida Gulf Coast is fun to watch when they're on.