FORT MYERS, FL. – After returning from an injury that sidelined her for nine games, she helped the FGCU’s No. 23 women’s basketball team earn two key wins. Kierstan Bell was named ASUN Player of the Week by the league office on Monday. Bell and the Eagles secured first place in the East Division with last Thursday’s win at Liberty before returning home to defeat Jacksonville on Saturday.
“To be named Player of the Week in the first week after her injury is really impressive,” said the head coach Karl Smesko. “I’m impressed but not surprised because Kierstan is an exceptional talent.”
On her return from knee surgery, Bell averaged 23.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in the two wins.
She had 23 points with seven rebounds and four blocks in the win at Liberty, FGCU’s NCAA-best 30th win straight road. She followed that up with another 23-point effort against Jacksonville, where she also added five assists and had three blocks.
For the season, she averages 23.4 points per game, which would lead ASUN and rank 5th nationally if she attended at least 75% of the team’s games. Even with those nine games missed, her total points this year (444) is more than any other player in ASUN this season.
This also extends her ASUN and FGCU record for most ASUN Player of the Week awards (12), having won the award six times this season.
Even after missing those games, Bell continues to be a top contender for several prestigious national awards: The Wooden Award, Naismith Player of the Year Award, Becky Hammon Player of the Year Award, Wade Award, and Ann Meyers Drysdale Award.
This is the eighth week of the season that FGCU has produced the ASUN Player of the Week. Six of those honors went to Bell, while Morehouse received the honor on January 31 Kerstin Phillips did this on January 24th. Kendall Spray received two Newcomer of the Week awards in the first two weeks of the season (Nov. 15, Nov. 22).
|MOST ASUN PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS|
|Leslie McElrath||State of Georgia||9|
|Patechia Hartmann||State of Georgia||8th|
|FGCU LEADERS – ASUN PLAYER OF THE WEEK|
|Keri Jewett Giles||6|
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FGCU Head Coach Karl Smesko holds a career overall record of 606-127 (.826), which is the third-highest win ratio among active Division I coaches, behind only UConn’s Geno Auriemma and LSU’s Kim Mulkey. He has also led the Eagles to a 232-18 (.929) mark in ASUN regular season play and a 27-2 (.931) record in ASUN tournament play. In the past 10 seasons, he has led FGCU to a 153-5 (.968) record in conference play with six unbeaten seasons. The 11-time ASUN Coach of the Year has led the program to 12 consecutive 25-win seasons and 18 consecutive 20-win campaigns, including more than 30 wins in four of the past seven years. Additionally, the Eagles are 545-100 (.845) all-time since Smesko started the program in the 2002-03 season, and the Green and Blue’s .845 all-time win percentage is the best in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history.
FGCU Athletics sponsors November and April events to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), the charities of choice of FGCU Athletics. For more information, including how to contribute, visit www.fgcu.edu/adminservices/foodpantry and use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to raise awareness.
FGCU teams have collectively won an incredible 87 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of DI postseason eligibility, the Eagles have contested a total of 43 teams or individuals in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a national top-25 ranking in their respective sports — including women’s basketball (No. 20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021), and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer ( 2018) as three of the youngest. In 2016-17, the Greens and Blues finished in the division’s best sixth place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and made the top-100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had the top seven teams from ASUN and Florida to earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progress in their sport. FGCU also achieved a combined record 3.50 GPA in the classroom for the Fall 2020 semester and has surpassed the university’s general student population for 25 consecutive semesters. Another milestone was reached in each of the Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021 semesters, as all 15 programs each achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles also contributed an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 and were recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.