Jan. 18, 2003
BOCA RATON, FL -- Florida Atlantic University used a 7-0 run late in the game to come from behind and edge Mercer University, 77-76, in an Atlantic Sun Conference game Saturday afternoon in Boca Raton, FL. The win extends FAU's winning streak to four games and improves its record to 6-9 overall and 4-0 in the A-Sun. The win also makes FAU the only undefeated team in the A-Sun South.
Tamica Pierce scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half and hit a three-pointer with 35 seconds left to pull FAU to within 74-73. On the ensuing inbounds play, Pierce forced a jump ball to give FAU the ball with a chance to take the lead.
"We really wanted to keep running our spread-set, and Crystal made a really nice pass," said FAU head coach Chancellor Dugan.
After a missed jumper by Mercer's Jo-Jo Carter with 4 seconds left, Angie Rodgers was fouled and made both free throws to give the Lady Owls a 77-74 lead with 0.7 seconds left as FAU went on for the one-point victory.
"We've been in situations like this before and really haven't been able to overcome," said Dugan. "This is a big step for this team to come from behind and win."
Julie Goad opened the game for FAU with a pair of jumpers to give the Lady Owls a quick 4-0 lead. Mercer responded with a 10-2 run over the next 2:29 to lead 10-6 at the 16:39 mark of the first half. From that point, the Bears would least most of the first half, taking as much as a 35-27 lead with 2:39 left. Mercer closed the half leading 37-30.
In the second half, Mercer led 42-36 with 16:02 left before the Lady Owls went on a 10-0 run and eventually led 49-44 with 11:34 left in the game. That would end up being FAU's largest lead of the game as Mercer responded with a 20-5 run over the next 7:12 to take the 10-point margin.
FAU shot 40.8 percent (29-for-71) from the field while Mercer was held to 38.2 percent (29-for-76). The Bears shot 6-for-15 from beyond the arc while the Lady Owls managed just 2-for-15. Mercer held a 53-43 advantage on the boards.
FAU's defense pressure down the stretch played a vital part in the team's rally. In the final eight minutes, FAU forced six turnovers while not committing any miscues.
"When they turn it up our press seems to give teams a lot of trouble," said Dugan.
Boyland finished with 13 points while DeeAnna Hanscom had a season-high 12. McCleod scored six of her 10 points in the second half.
Mercer's April Dyer led all scorers with 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Ramona Wright had 13, and Amanda Parker finished with 12.
Florida Atlantic next plays at Central Florida on January 25.
On the Court with Coach Jim Jabir: Part Two
On the Court with Coach Jim Jabir: Part One
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