Dec. 29, 2012
Monroe, LA - Four double-figure scoring performances helped lead the Florida Atlantic University women's basketball team to a 82-72 victory over the University of Louisiana at Monroe on Saturday at Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The victory moved the Owls to a 4-0 record in Sun Belt Conference play for the first time and the best conference start since the 2002-03 season.
"I am thrilled that we were able to get a road win," said Kellie Lewis-Jay, FAU's head women's basketball coach. "There are a lot of things that we can do to improve. The sign of a great team is one that can bury their opponent. The last two games we have not done that."
FAU (7-5, 4-0 Sun Belt) used a 16-2 run midway through the first half to build a 25-12 lead after a layup by junior forward Chenise Miller with 10:24 left in the period. The lead grew to 15 points, at 29-14, following a jump shot by junior guard Kimberly Smith with 7:16 remaining in the first half.
ULM (2-10, 0-3 Sun Belt) slowly cut into the FAU lead by scoring the next 10 points and trailed 36-34 with 21 seconds left before halftime. A jumper by junior guard Briah Blakely halted the host's scoring run and gave the Owls a 38-34 halftime lead.
Another strong offense spurt helped lead the way for Florida Atlantic in the second half, taking a 53-41 advantage following a 3-point field goal by junior guard Latavia Dempsey at the 14:22 mark.
The Warhawks once again cut into the deficit, coming within four points of catching FAU on two occasions, including 57-53 after a layup by Alayshia Hunter with 7:59 left in the game.
However, the hosts never took the lead and the Owls' lead stretched to double digits, at 63-53, following a 3-point field goal by Dempsey with 6:50 left. Another 3-pointer by the FAU guard with the shot clock winding down gave FAU a 73-63 advantage with 2:32 remaining.
"Latavia's 3-pointer was huge for us," said Lewis-Jay. "The shot had to go up as the shot clock was winding down. Quite frankly, we all knew that it was going to go down. It was a strange feeling. I am very proud of her play today. I have challenged her to play consistently on both ends of the court. If she can give us that effort each time out we can be successful."
Miller added, "The 3-point field goal (by Dempsey) was definitely a momentum-changer for us. Whenever somebody drains a 3 pointer like that it fuels one team and deflates the other team."
Miller scored 15 of her game-high 22 points in the first half. She also had eight rebounds, three blocked shots and four steals. Dempsey went 4-of-6 on 3-point field goals to score a career-high 18 points, highlighted by 16 second-half points. Smith added 12 points and Blakely matched her career high with 11 points, including 6-of-6 shooting at the free throw line.
ULM was paced by Jasmine Shaw's 19 points. Ashleigh Simmons scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
FAU returns to the court on Wednesday, January 2 at 7 p.m. when it hosts the University of Louisiana. Live audio and statistics are available here. Season and single-game tickets are available by contacting the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.