FGCU Draws No. 12 Seed In NCAA Tourney; Takes on No. 5 Missouri Saturday

STANFORD, Calif. – The FGCU women's basketball team is seeded 12th and will open NCAA Tournament play on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2 against No. 5 Missouri in a first-round matchup at Maples Pavilion on the campus of Stanford University.

The meeting will be the first-ever between the Eagles (30-4) and Missouri (24-7), who earned an at-large bid after falling in the SEC quarterfinals.

"They have one of the best players in the nation in Sophie Cunningham," FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. "Other than that, we're going to have to do a lot of studying over the next couple of days to get ourselves ready."

The winner of the first-round matchup will face the winner of No. 4 Stanford and No. 13 Gonzaga on Monday in the second round. The Stanford/Gonzaga game will take place following the conclusion of the FGCU contest. The games are part of the Lexington Regional that has Louisville as the No. 1 seed.

FGCU earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament via Sunday's 68-58 win over Jacksonville in the ASUN tournament final. This is the fifth tournament appearance for the Eagles over the past seven seasons. They are 1-4 in their previous four appearances and nearly upset No. 4 Miami last year before falling 62-60 as a No. 13 seed.

"I think everybody is going to be extremely confident just because we'll know the team inside and out by the time the game comes around," sixth-year senior Taylor Gradinjan said following the selection show. "(Coach) Smesko is always good about giving us an amazing game plan - just something to exploit their weaknesses and our strengths. So, yeah, confidence is high."
The postseason berth for FGCU is the program's 11th straight since joining the Division-I ranks in 2007-08.  
Much more information about the matchup will be released over the next few days on FGCUAthletics.com.

For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the women's basketball program, follow @FGCU_WBB on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook at /FGCUWBB.

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