FGCU women’s basketball team rallies around injured star

LEE COUNTY, Fla. – For the second straight game, Florida Gulf Coast University’s women’s basketball team took the court without leading scorer and defending Becky Hammond Mid Major Player of the Year Kierstan Bell.

 “As time progressed we knew we had to do this for her,” said senior guard Tishara Morehouse. “We didn’t want the season to deteriorate because of that.”

Bell is sidelined after having surgery on a partially torn meniscus, meaning the Eagles continue the process of figuring out just how talented and deep their bench really is without her nearly 25 points and 30 minutes per game. 

RELATED STORY: FGCU star basketball player to miss time with knee injury

 “There were some adjustments about who would play what positions for certain actions,” admits Eagles Head Coach Karl Smesko. 

Apparently, those adjustments worked just fine. Thursday the Eagles beat Eastern Kentucky 92-70 putting any doubts about how talented this team is without Bell in the lineup. 

“We’re getting good production from a lot of people,” said Smesko. 

And though Bell wasn’t on the floor scoring for the Eagles, she was still with them and not in thought or in spirit but literally cheering them on from the bench 24 hours post-surgery.

 “Even when she’s on the bench she’s cheering, she’s clapping, talking to us,” said Morehouse. “She’s still there with us and it’s really a pump for us.”

Smesko, however,  said Bell’s injury is expected to keep her out four to six weeks but that her return all depends on how well her rehab progresses. 

“I think she’s motivated to take it really seriously, and we’ll see how quickly she can return,” Smesko said.

The hope is, at least for the rest of the Eagles,  that there’s still some season left for Bell to return to.

“All we can do as teammates is keep winning, keep supporting her and she’ll be back in 4-6 weeks. So I can’t wait to have her back,” said Morehouse. 

Coincidentally if Bell is to return toward the end of that four to six-week window she could return to the lineup just in time for the start of the NCAA Tournament should the Eagles make it. 

https://nbc-2.com/news/sports/2022/01/27/fgcu-womens-basketball-team-rallies-around-injured-star/ FGCU women’s basketball team rallies around injured star

Tom Vazquez

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