Feb. 25, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - The Florida Atlantic University women's basketball clinched second place in the Sun Belt Conference's (SBC) East Division and a first-round bye for next weekend's championship tournament with a 68-62 comeback victory over Troy University on Saturday's Senior Day at the FAU Arena in Boca Raton.
The Owls finished the regular season with a 16-11 record and 11-5 in conference play. Those 11 conference triumphs are the most the program has recorded in SBC history, and the 16 total victories are the most since the 2005-06 campaign.
"This year's team has accomplished more than any other FAU team during our time in the Sun Belt Conference," said Chancellor Dugan, FAU's head women's basketball coach. "I am so proud for these seniors to go out as winners in their last game on this floor."
Florida Atlantic was predicted to finish fifth in the SBC's preseason poll by league coaches, and the team's 23 points ranked 11th out of the 12 conference teams.
Like all of its other 11 league triumphs, FAU had to fight every minute of the game. In fact, the Owls trailed 31-27 at halftime and 51-43 with 11:03 remaining in the game. The hosts slowly chipped away at the deficit. Sophomore guard Latavia Dempsey started the rally with a 15-foot jumper to move FAU to within 51-46 at the 10:20 mark.
Then, a layup by senior guard DaLita Scott on FAU's next offensive possession trimmed the deficit to four points, 51-47, with 9:17 left. Finally, after a free throw by senior guard Teri Stamps, sophomore guard Kimberly Smith connected on a three-point field goal to cap an 8-0 run to tie the game at 51-51 with 8:21 remaining on the clock.
FAU capitalized on a Troy turnover and Stamps drained a three pointer to give the Owls a 54-51 lead. They would never trail the rest of the game.
"Teri stepped up offensively. It wasn't a pretty game, but we got the win and that's all that matters at this point in the season," said Dugan.
FAU would build an eight-point advantage, 65-57, in the final two minutes and hold on to win by the six-point margin.
Stamps matched her career high with 22 points, featuring five three-point field goals. Senior forward April Goins chipped in a season-high 16 points and eight rebounds. Scott added seven points to round out the team's balanced offensive attack. The team held a commanding 49-29 rebounding edge in the game.
Troy (2-25, 1-15 Sun Belt) was paced by Jasmine Pitts' 17 points.
FAU will wait to play in the SBC tournament until Sunday, March 4, at 3:15 p.m. against a victor of a first-round game. The Sun Belt Conference will announce the tournament bracket and other information on Sunday.
Live audio and statistics of all postseason action can be found at www.fausports.com.