Jan. 22, 2005
BOCA RATON - The Florida Atlantic University Lady Owls won their fourth consecutive home game on Saturday night, a 59-55 decision over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Mercer University.
Junior Shontavia Williams led the way for the Owls (6-9, 4-4) with 14 points while senior DeKesh Frazier had a big night on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds. The Bears (5-10, 3-5) were paced by senior Jessica Miller's 17 points.
In a game of two greatly contrasting halves, the Owls dominated early before watching the Bears make a frantic comeback in the second half.
"They turned up the defense and got good looks," said FAU head coach Chancellor Dugan about the Bears' rally. "We didn't get it inside like I wanted to, but we've been getting good production from our bench and that was key tonight."
In a first half during which the Owls had an 18-point lead at one point, Mercer could simply not handle the pressure defense that has seen FAU lead the conference in turnovers forced.
The Bears were stymied at the offensive end with leading scorer Miller limited to one first-half bucket, and as a team, they had only 12 points with just over three minutes left before the half. FAU led 35-22 at the break.
Mercer turned up their defensive intensity in the second half, leading to a 22-5 run that gave the Bears a 44-40 lead with 8:25 remaining. They then increased that lead to five with just over four minutes to go, but the Owls were not about to toss in the towel.
Two free throws by Amanda Bulin with 40 seconds left put the Owls up by one and after Karen Hickman missed an open three-pointer that would have given the Bears the lead, Williams and Bulin made one free throw each to put the game out of reach.
Mercer's Tanya Kessenich led all players with 12 rebounds, while Jackie Brown (11) and Missy Glaser (10) joined Williams in double figures for the Owls. Both teams shot poorly from the field (FAU 35.2%, Mercer 37.5%) while the Bears were woeful at the line, going 6-for-16.
The win moves the Owls into a two-way tie for fifth-place in the conference with Georgia State. Their next game will be on the road at Jacksonville at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.