College basketball: FGCU's Kierstan Bell says she's entering WNBA Draft in Facebook post

·4 min read

Kierstan Bell's junior season at FGCU could be her last for the Eagles.

The star forward posted on her Facebook page Wednesday that she was entering the WNBA Draft.

"oh I forgot to mention.. I will be entering the 2022 WNBA draft .." she wrote.

Bell can withdraw her name from the draft, which will be in April, and retain college eligibility. She played her freshman season at Ohio State, and is in her second season at FGCU.

"I appreciate all the love and support man it’s only up from here y’all !!" Bell commented below her post. "Finishing this year out with a bang let’s go."

FGCU sports information director John Sinnett confirmed Bell's announcement via text. Bell could not be reached for comment.

FGCU's Kierstan Bell (1) jumps to shoot the ball during the FGCU women's basketball game against FMU on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021 at the Alico Arena in Fort Myers, Fla.
FGCU's Kierstan Bell (1) jumps to shoot the ball during the FGCU women's basketball game against FMU on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021 at the Alico Arena in Fort Myers, Fla.

The Eagles (16-1), who are ranked No. 21 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll and No. 24 in The Associated Press Top 25, won 78-41 at Stetson on Wednesday night.

Bell followed up her post by scoring five points in 17 minutes against the Hatters while being hampered by a left knee issue, Sinnett said. Her previous low at FGCU was nine points in the ASUN tournament quarterfinals last season.

Bell, who was just 2 of 10 from the floor and 1 of 8 from 3-point range, had four rebounds, three assists and two blocks Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Bell was selected to the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Midseason Watch List as announced by Her Hoops Stats. This comes after she was earlier named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List at the beginning of the month.

Bell won the Hammon award last season, leading the Eagles to a 26-3 record that included a 25-1 record with her playing. The Ohio State transfer was ineligible the first two games of the 2020-21 season while awaiting a waiver on an NCAA transfer rule. FGCU won 25 straight before losing to Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

"Kierstan is having an exceptional season," FGCU coach Karl Smesko said in a release regarding the Hammon watch list. "She is absolutely one of the best players in the country."

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Bell is also in the running for several other national awards: the Atlanta Tipoff Club Naismith Trophy Watch List, the Wade Award Top 30 Watch List, and the Ann Myers-Drysdale Award Top 20 Watch List.

Bell, who set an ASUN record this week with her 11th career Player of the Week honor, entered the Stetson game as the third-leading scorer in the nation at 24.6 points per game while also adding 7.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.4 blocks.

She holds the FGCU record for career double-doubles with 23 through 42 games. Overall, she has 1,351 total career points through 72 total games between her season at Ohio State and two seasons with the Eagles.

The highest-rated recruit to ever play for FGCU, Bell was named the 16th best player in NCAA Division I women's basketball heading into the 2021-22 season by ESPN.com.

In her first season at FGCU last year, Bell had one of the best seasons of any player in the country by averaging 24.3 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.9 steals per game. She became the first player in ASUN history to be tabbed both the conference's player and newcomer of the year, earned a spot on the Wade Trophy Mid-season Watch List and landed on the NCAA.com Starting Five twice.

She was named the ASUN tournament MVP last year, while leading the Eagles to the ASUN tournament championship and finishing the season as the nation's fourth-leading scorer.

Last season, Bell was named WBCA Honorable Mention All-American, Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American, USBWA Honorable Mention All-American, ASUN Player of the Year, and ASUN Newcomer of the Year. The pair of ASUN awards were unanimous.

Bell also established FGCU single-season records for total points (632), scoring average, field goals made and defensive rebounds per game. She led the ASUN in scoring, rebounding, field goals made and 3-point field goals made while finishing second in blocks and third in steals.

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

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: FGCU women's basketball star Kierstan Bell to enter WNBA Draft

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