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FGCU women’s basketball playing in MAAC/ASUN Challenge at Disney

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The FGCU women's basketball team, coached by Karl Smesko (top), and the men's team, coached by Michael Fly each have all but one game on their respective schedules released. The women will play in the MAAC/ASUN Challenge at Disney World on Nov. 19-20.

The FGCU women’s basketball team’s schedule is almost complete, and the men’s continues to move in that direction less than two months before the season begins.

On Wednesday, the ASUN and MAAC conferences released the field for the MAAC/ASUN Challenge at the ESPN Wide World of Sports from Nov. 19-20. The FGCU women, which went 26-3 last year, will be playing in this, while the FGCU men won’t.

On Friday, November 19, the women will face Manhattan at 11:00 a.m., followed by Fairfield at noon on Saturday.

Karl Smesko, FGCU women’s coach, said that the MAAC/ASUN Challenge is exciting. “We play 2 very good teams. Both of them will win at least 20 games this year, which is what I’m expecting.

Seven of the eight games will be broadcast on ESPN3, while the Iona College versus Liberty University men’s game on Friday, Nov. 19 will be on ESPNU at 5 p.m.

The Iona men’s team, which includes Canterbury grad Berrick JeanLouis and Community School grad Parker Weiss, will play in the men’s portion. JeanLouis is a senior and Weiss is junior. He went to New Mexico State, then FSW, before transferring to Iona.

“We look forward to a challenging non-conference schedule to prepare us for league play, and we feel like this year’s slate will do just that,” Iona coach Rick Pitino said in a release. “Playing a pair of quality opponents from the ASUN Conference on a neutral floor at Disney World this November is a perfect precursor.”

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The MAAC/ASUN Challenge schedule: Friday, Nov. 19 — Women, Manhattan vs. FGCU, 11 a.m., ESPN3; Women, Fairfield vs. Stetson, 1:30 p.m., ESPN3; Men, Iona vs. Liberty, 5 p.m., ESPNU; Men, Manhattan vs. North Alabama, 7:30 p.m., ESPN3; Saturday, Nov. 20 — Women, Fairfield vs. FGCU, noon, ESPN3; Women, Manhattan vs. Stetson, 2:30 p.m., ESPN3; Men, Manhattan vs. Liberty, 6 p.m., ESPN3; Men, Iona vs. North Alabama, 8:30 p.m., ESPN3

Ticket information for the Challenge will be released at a later date.

The FGCU Athletics website states that the women and men will play a doubleheader at Alico Arena to open the season. Smesko explained that the women will be facing Florida Memorial at 5 pm, and then Florida National at 7.30 p.m. 

The women also have added home games against Temple on Friday, Nov. 12 and  Ave Maria on Saturday, Dec. 11, and a road game at Fordham on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Smesko indicated that another game against an opponent not in Division I may be added.

According to the website, men have added home matches with Eckerd and Mercer on Sundays Nov. 21 & Dec. 19, respectively, as well as a road match at Canisius on Wednesday December 22.

Michael Fly, the head coach of men, stated that FGCU would aim to exceed the NCAA maximum amount of regular-season matches (31). They currently have 30 regular-season ASUN conference games.

On Tuesday, both the women’s and men’s teams will open practice.

Greg Hardwig, a sports reporter at The News-Press and Naples Daily News, is available for your questions. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at ghardwi[email protected] Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/

FGCU men’s basketball 2021-22 schedule

Tuesday, Nov. 9 — Florida National, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 13 — at Loyola Chicago

Tuesday, Nov. 16 — USC, 7 p.m. (Dunk City Reunion)

Sunday, Nov. 21 — Eckerd, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 23 — Rhode Island, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 26 — Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Invitational, vs. Western Michigan, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 27 — Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Invitational, vs. Southeastern Louisiana, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 28 — Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Invitational, vs. Purdue Fort Wayne, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 1 — at FIU, Miami

Saturday, Dec. 4 — Dartmouth, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 7 — at Florida A&M, Tallahassee

Saturday, Dec. 11 — at Robert Morris, Moon Township, Pa.

Sunday, Dec. 19 — Mercer, 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 22 — at Canisius, Buffalo, N.Y., 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 4 — *North Florida, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 8 — *at Jacksonville

Tuesday, Jan. 11 — *at Kennesaw State, Kennesaw, Ga.

Saturday, Jan. 15 — * Liberty, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 18 — *at Stetson, DeLand

Saturday, Jan. 22 — *at Jacksonville State, Jacksonville, Ala.

Thursday, Jan. 27 — *Eastern Kentucky, 5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 29 — *Bellarmine, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 3 — *at Central Arkansas, Conway, Ark.

Saturday, Feb. 5 — *at Lipscomb, Nashville

Wednesday, Feb. 9 — *North Alabama, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 12 — *Stetson, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 16 — *Kennesaw State, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 19 — *at North Florida, Jacksonville

Wednesday, Feb. 23 — *at Liberty, Lynchburg, Va.

Saturday, Feb. 26 — *Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

ASUN Tournament

Tuesday, March 1 — first round, at higher seed

Thursday, March 3 — Quarterfinals, at higher seed 

Saturday, March 5 — Semifinals, at higher seed

Tuesday, March 8 — Championship at higher seed

* — ASUN Conference game

FGCU women’s basketball 2021-22 schedule

Tuesday, Nov. 9 — Florida Memorial, 5 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 12 — Temple, 6 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 14 — at LSU, 1 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 19 — ASUN/MAAC Challenge, vs. Manhattan, Orlando, 11 a.m.

Saturday, Nov. 20 — ASUN/MAAC Challenge vs. Fairfield, Orlando, noon

Friday, Nov. 26 — San Juan Shootout, vs. Tennessee Tech, San Juan, P.R., 5:45 p.m., 

Saturday, Nov. 27 — San Juan Shootout, vs. Saint Louis, San Juan, P.R., 5:45 p.m. 

Wednesday, Dec. 1 — Princeton, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 11 — Ave Maria, 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 20 — West Palm Beach Invitational, vs. Michigan State, 1:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 21 — West Palm Beach Invitational, vs. High Point, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 29 — at Fordham, Bronx, N.Y., 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 5 — *North Florida

Saturday, Jan. 8 — *at Jacksonville

Wednesday, Jan. 12 — *at Kennesaw State, Kennesaw, Ga.

Saturday, Jan. 15 — *Liberty

Wednesday, Jan. 19 — *at Stetson, DeLand

Saturday, Jan. 22 — *at Jacksonville State, Jacksonville, Ala.

Thursday, Jan. 27 — *Eastern Kentucky

Saturday, Jan. 29 — *Bellarmine

Thursday, Feb. 3 — *at Central Arkansas, Conway, Ark.

Saturday, Feb. 5 — *at Lipscomb, Nashville

Wednesday, Feb. 9 — *North Alabama

Saturday, Feb. 12 — *Stetson

Thursday, Feb. 17 — *Kennesaw State

Saturday, Feb. 19 — *at North Florida, Jacksonville

Thursday, Feb. 24 — *at Liberty, Lynchburg, Va.

Saturday, Feb. 26 — *Jacksonville

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