Wingate's Career-High 28 Leads Way as FGCU Pummels JWU at Home

 

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Davion Wingate compiled a game-high 28 points to lead five players who produced a new career-high in scoring as the FGCU women's basketball team (7-2) tied a single-game program record for most points in a 109-64 rout of Johnson and Wales (3-9) in Alico Arena on Friday. The Eagles have now won five straight.

"I thought we shot the ball exceptionally well in the first half," FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. "Even though we turned it over quite a few times, we were able to get a pretty substantial lead because we shot it so well. Then, in the second half, we got to look at a lot of players, some who have been in the rotation and others who haven't played very much. So, they got a chance to go out there and show what they can do."

Wingate (Atlanta, Ga./Stephenson HS), who became one of just 12 players in program history to produce at least 28 points at least once while wearing the Green and Blue, finished 11-for-16 from the field while adding five rebounds, a season-high four steals and two assists over 28 minutes.

In fact, the Peach State native's production helped FGCU break the program's Division-I era single-game scoring record previously set on Feb. 27, 2014 against Lipscomb (108). In doing so, it also tied the Nov. 22, 2005 scoring output against Puerto Rico - Cayey for most in a game overall and in Alico Arena history.

In terms of team records, the Eagles also finished 40-for-58 (.588) from 3-point range to tie for the fifth-best single-game percentage performance. They also shot 18-for-41 (.439) from 3-point range for the team's 12th all-time game with at least that many makes, including the second of the season and fourth of the calendar year.

Chandler Ryan, who made her first career start, produced a career-high with 21 points, while adding five assists on 7-for-11 shooting from 3-point range. Her effort from long distance fell just one shy of matching the program's single-game individual record, which includes Nasrin Ulel's seven 3-pointers against American University on Nov. 25. She is averaging 18.3 points over the past three contests on 16-for-29 shooting from long range.

Tanner Bryant (16), Sheahen Dowling (10) and Tyra Cox (8) each also poured in new career-highs. Bryant added a career-high seven rebounds, while Dowling (Chicago, Ill./Trinity HS) grabbed all four of her career-high four rebounds on the offensive glass. Cox (Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland Prep HS) out-did them all with career-highs in rebounds (9), assists (4) and steals (2).

Ulel (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta HS) finished fourth on the team with 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting. Overall, nine different players reached the scoring column, including Destiny Washington-Mabon (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North HS) and Brittany Johnson (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North HS) with four and two points, respectively.

FGCU opened the game on a 10-0 run and led by as many as 23 in the opening quarter following Ulel's steal and fast break layup with 44 seconds left. In the second, Wingate scored eight points during a 13-3 run. Bryant (Washington Court House, Ohio/Miami Trace HS) then gave the Eagles a 32-point lead in the final minute with a 3-pointer. The lead grew to as many as 49 in the second half with 1:22 left.

In the first 20 minutes alone, the Eagles shot 22-for-30 (.733) from the field and 10-for-18 (.556) from 3-point range.

The Green and Blue, who had four of five starters play 13 minutes or less and never trailed against the Wildcats, got 64 points from the bench and forced 20 turnovers, which led to 27 points the other way. New season-highs were set for field goals made (40), field goal percentage (.588) and 3-point field goal percentage (.439).

Tianna Ayulo led Johnson and Wales with 25 points, while JoNae Gonzales-Smith added 14.

Up Next
FGCU will host three games next week before taking a break for the holidays - Monday vs Abilene Christian at 7 p.m., Wednesday vs Coppin State at 5 p.m. and Friday vs UAB at 7 p.m.
 
WE'VE GOT YOUR SEAT
Experience FGCU basketball this season. The following ticket opportunities are on sale now:
Punch Pass
- Three entries for $15 or seven entries for $30. Remaining Punch Pass games: Men vs Colgate and Keiser; Women vs Johnson and Wales, Abilene Christian, Coppin State, and UAB. Purchase online HERE or call 239-590-7145.
Single Game Tickets
- Single game tickets are available for all remaining home games. Discounts are available for current or former military and youth ages 3-15. Purchase online HERE or call 239-590-7145.
Group Sales
- Bring your group of 20 or more to an FGCU men's or women's basketball game. All group tickets include a $5 game day discount at The Boardwalk restaurant and in game group recognition. For more information on group outings, click HERE or call 239-590-7145.
Young Alumni
FGCU alumni from the classes of 2014-18 save 30-70 percent off of Priority 4 or 5 GA tickets. Click HERE to fill out an interest form, or call 239-590-7145 to learn more.


COACH SMESKO
FGCU head coach Karl Smesko led the 2017-18 Eagles to another historic season. The Green and Blue finished 31-5 overall and 13-1 in ASUN play, capturing the program's eighth ASUN regular season championship and fifth ASUN tournament championship. The team finished the season ranked 25th in the final USA Today Coaches Poll, recaptured the NCAA record for most 3-point field goals made in a season with 431 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in seven seasons, where the Eagles knocked off 5th-seeded and No. 15 ranked Missouri in the opening round. It was the team's second tournament win over the past three appearances. Over the course of the season, FGCU knocked off three ranked teams - No. 15 Missouri, No. 20 Kentucky and No. 21 DePaul.

Over the past four seasons, Smesko has guided FGCU to three 30 plus win seasons while recording a 121-23 (.840) record overall. The now eight-time ASUN Coach of the Year rallied the 2016-17 team to its seventh straight 25-win campaign, culminating in an ASUN tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance. In 2015-16, he was named the espnW mid-major coach of the year following a run that witnessed the Eagles claim a WNIT runner-up finish and a Division-I program best ever 33-6 record. In 2014-15, the team achieved its first-ever top-25 ranking and made another trip to the NCAA Tournament, where the Eagles earned a No. 7 seed and won the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament game, toppling No. 10 seed Oklahoma State.

Including the 2017-18 campaign, Smesko has guided the Eagles to 14-straight 20-win seasons and eight-straight 25-win seasons. He maintains a record of 503-116 (.813) overall in his career, including a 170-16 (.914) mark in ASUN play. Over the past seven seasons, he has guided FGCU to a 106-4 (.964) record in conference play with four undefeated seasons. Smesko earned his 400th career coaching win in 2014-15 in just 493 career games, two games faster than UConn's Geno Auriemma. Entering 2016-17, he ranked among an elite list of just four active Division I coaches with a career win percentage of .800 or higher, joining Auriemma, Baylor's Kim Mulkey and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer in the esteemed group. Over the past year, first-year NCAA Division-I head coaches Nancy Fahey (Illinois) and Bart Brooks (Belmont) pushed the list to six.


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SUPPORT THE CAUSE
FGCU Athletics sponsors events throughout the year 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 contribute, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help.

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