FGCU Gets Boost as Veteran Phills Rejoins Team
FORT MYERS, Fla.– Among all the new faces for FGCU women’s basketball this season, a familiar one rejoined the team.
Graduate student, Kerstie Phills, returned after taking last season off due to COVID concerns and is ready to put the Eagles over the top.
Stepping away from FGCU last year was a tough but necessary decision for Phills.
“It was just a personal decision just to stay home and be safe with my family,” she said.
All that in consideration, it still wasn’t easy to watch her teammate’s accomplishments from a distance.
“It hurt but I was glad to see them progress and do excellent obviously,” Phills said.
Just like she was able to opt-out with no consequences the flip side was also true.
“I was even more grateful that there was an opportunity to come back because not everybody got to be in my shoes you know,” Phills said.
Unlike many seniors that had their careers end because of Covid Kerstie’s was only put on pause.
The NCAA allowed all students that had an extra year of eligibility the chance to opt-out without losing a year and gave the option to return.
“I am grateful for this opportunity. I am going to take it and run with it,” she said.
Her decision to return was welcome news by her coaches and teammates.
“I was just ecstatic, I was through the roof I don’t even think the coaches believe it at first,” senior guard Tyra Cox said. “As soon as she told me and I saw the look at her eyes I said oh she’s coming back she is ready for it.”
They all know how good this team can be and Kerstie is another valuable piece to the puzzle.
In her career as an eagle, she has produced 40 double-digit scoring games and five double-doubles while averaging over eight points and four rebounds per game. She could also become the newest member of 1,000 point club by the season’s end.
“I think with the pieces that we have added that are completely new faces and having KP back I think they can only elevate us,” Cox said. “You know KP brings such great energy to the team. She brings that vocal leadership but also that seniority and that calmness.”
Adding another veteran to summer workouts to help the team gel with history on their minds this season
“I see us being one of the top contenders,” Phills said. “I know that we are a top 24 team. I see us increasing that number and making the furthest postseason run we have ever had.”
Practices will continue for the Eagles with games beginning in November.
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