March 2, 2013
Boca Raton, FL - The Florida Atlantic University was outscored 7-0 over the final 2:15 to lose the regular-season finale 68-65 to South Florida rival FIU on Saturday, March 2 at the FAU Arena. The Owls will enter next week's Sun Belt Conference tournament with a 12-15 record.
FAU had three double-figure scorers -- junior forward Chenise Miller with 16 points, junior guard Kimberly Smith with 15 points and junior guard Briah Blakely with 12 points - but couldn't offset Jerica Coley, the nation's leading scorer, who had a game-high 29 points, including six of the last seven points to complete FIU's comeback victory.
The Owls led 65-61 before Coley hit consecutive baskets to tie the game with 1:02 remaining. After an offensive foul on the hosts, Marita Davydova split a pair of free throws to give FIU a 66-65 lead with 32 seconds remaining. Then, Coley completed the final rally with two free throws with 16 seconds left for the final advantage.
Florida Atlantic had a last possession and Smith's game-tying three-point field goal attempt rimmed out before the final buzzer.
The season finale was a game in which both teams exchanged the lead throughout the game. FAU used an 11-0 run over a four-minute stretch of the first half to take a 26-25 lead following a layup by junior guard Ashley Stevenson. The hosts trailed 34-33 at the break, but back-to-back three-point field goals by Smith ignited a spurt which gave the Owls a 41-38 advantage at the 17:12 mark. A few minutes later, another three pointer by Smith had the team ahead 51-46 at the 13-minute mark.
FAU will enter the conference tournament as either the No. 7 or No. 8 seed, depending on the outcome of Saturday night's University of South Alabama-Troy University game. A win by Troy will give the Owls the No. 7 seed and a match up against the Trojans in the first round. Meanwhile, a South Alabama victory gives the team a first-round game against ULM as the tournament's No. 8 seed. The tournament begins on Friday, March 8 from Hot Springs, Ark.
Live audio and statistics of the game are available at www.fausports.com. Live video is available for free at www.sunbeltsports.org. Contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS for conference tournament tickets.