Boca Raton, Fla. -
Florida Atlantic University women’s basketball (4-15, 0-8 C-USA) took a 65-60 loss to FIU (5-14, 3-5 C-USA) in the team’s rematch at FAU Arena on Thursday night.
The Owls went into the fourth with a 46-42 lead, which the Panthers slowly chipped away at, racking up a total of 23 points to FAU’s 14 in the quarter. With six minutes to play, FIU’s Janka Hegedus tied things up and Hudson gave the team it’s first lead since the second quarter with a free throw. Ra’Kyra Gabriel then claimed consecutive layups to put FAU back on top, 53-50, with five minutes remaining. Sasha Cedeno got on the board with back-to-back shots as the Owls led by one with less than three minutes left. Both teams went scoreless for the next two minutes until Hegedus saw a layup just under the minute mark to give FIU a 58-57 lead. Tianah Alvarado forced the Owls to foul her twice and send her to the line where she made all four shots to put the Panthers ahead 62-57. FAU did not see a point in three minutes until Malia Kency hit a three with 22 seconds left to put the Owls back within two. With little time left, FAU was forced to foul, and FIU would make 3-of-4 at the line to clinch the victory.
After both teams picked up two points in the first minute of the game, FIU and FAU went scoreless for the next 3:42 and 2:51, respectively. Each squad ended the drought at the free throw line. The Owls’ next offensive lull was broken up by a pass down low from Cedeno to Jacey Bailey for a layup. FAU did not score for the remainder of the quarter, and a jumper by Alvarado gave the Panthers a 10-9 lead.
In the first six minutes of the second quarter, the lead changed sides seven times with FAU ultimately coming out on top 28-26 at the half. At 4:37, the Owls strung together three unanswered baskets to go up by four starting with a layup by Alexis Shannon then a jumper by Kency followed by a three from Julia Jenike. Katelyn O’Reilly extended the home team’s lead by six as FAU saw five of their last six hit their mark, but Kristian Hudson and Alvarado would combine for four points to bring FIU back within two.
Back-to-back baskets from Shannon put FAU up by six at 8:01 in the third quarter. The Owls went 4-for-4 as Jenike picked up four at the free throw line to set a new personal best in points and Shannon tacked on two more to give FAU its biggest lead of the game, 40-30, with 5:36 left to play. FIU proceeded to go on a 6-0 run over the next 1:50 as FAU was scoreless for 2:31 and committed three turnovers. In the final three minutes, Kency racked up six points for the Owls and surpassed her personal best in rebounds. FAU capitalized on FIU’s five fouls going 8-for-8 from the free throw line and took 10 rebounds to the Panthers’ four in the quarter.
“Nothing But Net” Notables:
- Jenike made her eighth consecutive start, and it was productive for the freshman who put up a career-high 14 points. The guard shot 2-for-5 from beyond the arc and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line adding three rebounds, two assists and one steal.
- Just shy of a double-double, Kency had a career-best nine rebounds and a team-high 15 points along with three assists and two steals.
- Shannon contributed 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting as all nine Owls that saw the floor scored. Fellow freshman O’Reilly claimed nine boards, and Gabriel was right behind with eight rebounds and six points.
- FAU lead for more than 32 minutes, outrebounding FIU 41-37, but the Panthers had 13 points off takeaways and 26 points off the bench. Alvarado, Hegedus and Hudson combined for 55 of the Panthers’ 65 points.
The Owls will remain in Boca Raton next week to play Charlotte on Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. and Old Dominion on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.