Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FGCU Star Student-Athlete, Hansen, Shines in Quarterfinals

Her introduction during the pregame of Wednesday’s contest with East Tennessee State at the A-Sun tournament lasted a little longer than most.

But Florida Gulf Coast standout Sarah Hansen isn’t focused on all the individual accolades that were listed as she was introduced. She is more interested in helping her team reach its goals.

Throughout her career with the Eagles, Hansen has fared well in both aspects.

That continued Wednesday as Hansen finished with 22 points to help
top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast to a 79-63 win over ETSU. The Eagles advance to the semifinals on Friday, when they will play either North Florida or Kennesaw State.

“It really is exciting, and it’s such a great opportunity for our team,” Hansen said about the program’s first A-Sun tournament victory. “It was great to get our seed and sit where we’re sitting, and we’ll celebrate this win. But then we have to get ready for (Friday’s semifinal game).”

That’s Hansen’s focus … the team and the next game, even with all her individual accomplishments, and there are many.

Hansen redshirted her first season at Florida Gulf Coast and then was on the all-freshman and all-academic teams last season while also being named second-team all-conference last season. This season, she has continued to be noticed, being named to the preseason all-conference team and being picked for the all-conference team after the regular season.

The McKean, Pa. native averages a team-high 13.8 points and 6.3 rebounds, and she entered the tournament second on the Eagles’ roster with 1.9 steals per game and 17 blocked shots.

But her accomplishments don’t stop on the court. She was also named the A-Sun Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the year after earning a 3.95 GPA in chemistry.

“She’s just a special kid,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Karl Smesko said. “She’s incredibly bright, and she’s a motivated player and student. She’s a great teammate and great kid
to be around.”
Hansen showed all of those attributes Wednesday. She hit 9-of-16 shots from the floor, and she hit 3-of-4 from the foul line. But it wasn’t just offense. Hansen had a strong all-around game with six rebounds, one assist, four blocked shots and three steals.

The Eagles have won 19 straight games and are 27-2, after an undefeated conference season at 18-0 after completing the transition to full Division I status. “I was a little bit nervous,” Hansen admitted with a laugh about the program’s first A-Sun tournament game.

But the Eagles had little reason to be nervous … not with Hansen on their side.

Daniel Shirley is the sports editor of The Telegraph in Macon. Follow complete coverage of the Atlantic Sun tournament at www.macon.com/mercer and follow Daniel at @DM_Shirley for live updates throughout the tournament.

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