March 5, 2012
Hot Springs, AR - The record-setting season for the Florida Atlantic University women's basketball team came to an end with a 59-42 loss to the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in Monday's semifinal round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Owls stand 17-12 on the season and are hoping for the season to continue in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
UALR, the defending tournament champion, won the West Division and defeated FAU for the second time this season. The Trojans, 19-12 for the season, will play East Division champion Middle Tennessee State University in Tuesday's championship game.
"It was disappointing to lose in the conference tournament, but UALR played a very solid game and deserved to win today," said Chancellor Dugan, FAU's head women's basketball coach. "We played well in the first half, but UALR opened the second half on a big run to pull away. I'm proud of the girls for never quitting and continuing to fight to the end. Only one team can leave Hot Springs happy and unfortunately it isn't us."
FAU held an early lead over the Trojans at 6-5 before being outscored 11-7 over a six-minute stretch, giving UALR a 16-13 advantage with 8:04 remaining in the first half. The Trojans closed the first half strong to hold a 27-21 halftime advantage.
Scoring 14 of the first 18 points of the second half, Little Rock built a commanding 41-25 lead with 12:50 remaining. The lead grew to 21 points before the Owls cut the deficit to 14 points after four straight free throws by senior guard DaLita Scott at the 4:11 mark. That was as close as the Owls would get the rest of the way.
Senior guard Teri Stamps paced FAU's offensive attack with 13 points. Sophomore forward Chenise Miller tallied seven points and five rebounds. Senior post player Vontrice Dennis and sophomore guard Kimberly Smith each scored six points in the setback.
UALR (18-12) was led by Taylor Gault's 19 points while Marian Kursh added 16 points. Florida Atlantic recorded its first SBC tournament victory on March 4 with a 56-55 come-from-behind victory over the University of North Texas. The Owls' 11 conference games was the most since joining the league, and Dugan's squad posted its first winning season since the 2005-06 campaign.
"This year's team accomplished a lot this year. I am so proud of what we were able to do," said Dugan. "This senior class wanted to leave its' mark on the women's basketball program. We hope that this isn't the final game of the season."
The coaches and players will learn their fate for the WNIT on Monday, March 12, when teams are selected for this postseason tournament. If selected, tournament details will be available at www.fausports.com.