FORT MYERS, Fla. - Chandler Ryan and Davion Wingate scored a game-high 21 points apiece to lead the FGCU women's basketball team (9-2) to its seventh-straight win via a 93-61 rout of Coppin State (0-10) in Alico Arena on Wednesday in the opener of the Hilton Garden Inn Classic.
"I thought we had a really good first half," FGCU head coach Karl Smeskosaid. "I thought our defense was good, and as soon as we put Chandler in, she just really went off and got us going. She just caught the ball ready to shoot, got to open areas and was hunting shots. She really got us going offensively, and Davion came in and picked up where Chandler left off. Nas was also attacking the rim and making good decisions. I was really happy with the majority of this game. I thought we played really well for a lot of stretches, and you always look better when you shoot it this well, too."
For the second time in three games, Ryan (Groveland, Ill./Morton HS) made a career-high seven 3-point field goals, finishing just one make shy of the single-game record in only 15 minutes of action. She did, however, finish 7-for-7 from long range to become the first player in program history to make at least that many in a game without a miss. The only other player to make at least six without a miss was Trish Fleming against Palm Beach Atlantic on Jan. 10, 2003.
Incredibly, Wingate (Atlanta, Ga./Stephenson HS) almost joined Ryan. She made her first six 3-pointers before finishing 6-for-7. She added four rebounds and three assists while shooting 7-for-10 overall from the field, and she's now averaging 18 PPG over the past three contests.
Behind Ryan and Wingate's combined 13-for-14 performance, FGCU reached the 5,000 plateau for all-time 3-point field goals made as a program. Kerstie Phills (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian HS) made the milestone shot from the right-wing with 2:41 left on an assist from Sheahen Dowling(Chicago, Ill./Trinity HS).
"From day one, the 3-point shot has been a major part of our style of play," Smesko said. "Our players like playing that style. They know the difference between a good three and a bad three. It's been something we've consistently done pretty well at, and hopefully we can continue to shoot the ball well throughout the rest of the season."
FGCU has made 26 more 3-pointers this year than they did in all of the 2003-04 season - in just nine games. Here's a look at how each team has stacked up throughout the years and how the program got to 5,000:
2002-03 --- 212-for-535 (.396)
2003-04 --- 118-for-406 (.291)
2004-05 --- 253-for-722 (.350)
2005-06 --- 242-for-747 (.324)
2006-07 --- 337-for-891 (.378)
2007-08 --- 255-for-734 (.347)
2008-09 --- 296-for-763 (.388)
2009-10 --- 317-for-876 (.362)
2010-11 --- 350-for-940 (.372)
2011-12 --- 342-for-925 (.370)
2012-13 --- 319-for-974 (.328)
2013-14 --- 347-for-1,000 (.347)
2014-15 --- 327-for-928 (.352)
2015-16 --- 372-for-1,194 (.312)
2016-17 --- 338-for-1,058 (.319)
2017-18 --- 431-for-1,190 (.362)
2018-19 --- 144-for-407 (.354)
TOTALS: 5,000-for-14,401 (.347)
FGCU appeared out of sorts by opening the game 0-for-8 from the field and trailing 5-0, but Nasrin Ulel got the Eagles on the board with a layup just under three and a half minutes in - and then Ryan took over. The redshirt sophomore guard made five 3-pointers over the final six minutes and helped her team finish 10-for-12 from the field in the quarter.
The 3-point barrage continued in the second quarter as Ryan, Wingate and Lisa Zderadicka combined for four of them over the first two and a half minutes. In all, the Green and Blue finished 18-for-26 from the field after the tough start to take a 51-22 lead at the half.
Ryan got some rest in the second half by playing only three minutes, but Wingate took control with 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range. In all, eight players recorded at least five points for FGCU, while 11 players reached the scoring column.
Ulel (Murrietta, Calif./Murrietta HS) finished 6-for-12 from the field for 15 points, which was third-most on the team. Zderadicka (Vienna, Austria/HAK Korneuburg) added nine points and a team-high five rebounds.
Tytionia Adderly (Jupiter, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS), meanwhile, led the Eagles with eight rebounds (six offensive) to tie Robyn Swain (640, 2002-04) for fourth-place on the program's all-time career rebounding list.
Chance Graham led Coppin State with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while three others also reached double figures in points.
The Green and Blue will close out the Hilton Garden Inn Classic with a 7 p.m. matchup against UAB (9-1) on Friday, while Coppin State will play UAB at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
FGCU has now made at least one 3-point field goal in 420 straight games. This was their eighth game this year, including the 245th time in program history, with 10 or more made 3-pointers in a game.
Wednesday night's performance represented the third time this year the Eagles have made at least 18 3-point field goals in a game, and all of them have come in the month of December.
WE'VE GOT YOUR SEAT
Experience FGCU basketball this season. The following ticket opportunities are on sale now:
Three entries for $15 or seven entries for $30. Remaining Punch Pass Games: Men vs Keiser; Women vs Coppin State and UAB. Purchase online HERE or call 239-590-7145.
Bring your group of 20 or more to an FGCU Men's or Women's Basketball game. All group tickets include an FGCU hat ($15 value), a $5 game day discount at The Boardwalk restaurant, in-game group recognition and more. For more information on group outings, click 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.
Military Appreciation Games
Military Appreciation Night is Saturday, Jan. 5. Discounted tickets are available for current or former Military and their families. Women's tickets start at $8 each and Men's tickets start at $9 each and the first 50 military discount orders include a free $10 gift card for Mission BBQ. Purchase online HERE or call 239-590-7145.
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 505-116 (.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.
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.
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.