Feb. 7, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - Two of the Sun Belt Conference's top teams will square off in South Florida on Wednesday night when the Florida Atlantic University women's basketball team hosts West Division leader University of Denver at 7 p.m. in the FAU Arena, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.
The Owls stand in second place in the SBC's East Division with a 7-3 record after a thrilling 51-49 home victory over rival FIU on February 4. Overall, FAU has posted a 12-9 mark.
FAU rallied from a 44-39 deficit to FIU with 5:41 left in the game, closing the contest on a 12-5 run. Senior guard DaLita Scott hit a six-foot jumper to give the team a 50-49 advantage with 23 seconds remaining. The Owls successfully defended two FIU shot attempts and grabbed a key defensive rebound with four seconds left to seal the victory to sweep the season series.
Scott had a team-high 13 points in the win, while senior forward Vontrice Dennis had a season-high 12 rebounds.
"We didn't play our best game against FIU, but showed enough perseverance to come out on top again. There is still room for improvement as we enter a critical February stretch in our season," said Chancellor Dugan, FAU's head women's basketball. "We have a lot of home games coming up on our schedule and protecting our home court will be important for us to remain atop the East Division, while continuing to build positive moment for the post-season. Denver is a quality team and we will need the support of our home crowd to come out on top."
Florida Atlantic's last three wins have come by a combined five points. Besides the Feb. 4 victory over FIU, the team picked up a 60-58 home win over Western Kentucky University on Jan. 25. There was also a 50-49 triumph over FIU in Miami on Jan. 21.
Wednesday's game is the second of three consecutive home league games for the Owls. The team is 7-2 inside "The Burrow" this season, including a 3-1 mark in conference action.
For the season, sophomore post player Chenise Miller continues to pace a balanced offensive attack, averaging 10.1 points per game. She also leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per outing - the sixth highest mark in the SBC. Miller has been a double-figure scorer in seven of the 10 league games this season.
Senior guard Teri Stamps is scoring at an 8.3-point clip, while sophomore guard Latavia Dempsey follows closely at 8.2 points per contest. Senior forward April Goins is averaging eight points a game to round out the balanced attack.
"Balance has been a key element for us. Our success has been a total team effort this season," Dugan said.
Sophomore guard Kimberly Smith has made 23 shots from behind the three-point line this winter. Fellow sophomore Takia Brooks is tops on the team with 55 assists, and senior forward Mariana Byczkowski has started four of the past five games.
Denver is coming off a 75-63 home-court loss to Middle Tennessee State University on February 4. The loss snapped the Pioneers' six-game winning streak. The West Division leader has an 8-3 league record and a 16-9 mark overall. Senior forward Kaetlyn Murdoch anchors the offensive load at 17.4 points a game, while grabbing 6.2 rebounds a game and making 55 percent of her field goals. The co-Preseason Player of the Year has been named the league's Player of the Week three times this season. Sophomore guard Quincey Noonan, junior guard Emiko Smith and freshman guard Morgan Van Riper-Rose are all scoring nearly nine points a game.
Live audio and statistics of Wednesday's game can be found at www.fausports.com. For tickets contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.