March 8, 2002
TROY, AL - Freshman Angie Rodgers scored a career-high 16 points to lead Florida Atlantic University to a 76-72 lead over Mercer University in an Atlantic Sun Conference semifinal match-up Friday in Troy, AL. Rodgers went 3-of-4 from the line in the final 16 seconds to help preserve the victory. Tamica Pierce had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. The win was the 200th career victory for FAU head coach Chancellor Dugan.
FAU (17-13) now advances to the A-Sun Tournament championship game Saturday against the winner of the Georgia State-Stetson game. FAU will be seeking its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
FAU (17-13) opened up a seven point lead three times in the first half before Mercer (16-13) closed the half on an 8-1 run to tie the game at 38. Mercer's Jo Jo Carter scored 13 of her career-high 22 points in the first half and led the Bears in the losing effort.
The Lady Owls opened up the second half on a 17-10 run to lead 55-48 with 12:37 left to go. A lay-up by Jwanda Roberson pulled the Bears to within 55-50 before FAU went on a 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the game, 62-50, with 9:53 remaining.
Mercer began to claw back with mini-runs to cut the deficit to 73-70 with 1:11 remaining. Crystal Boyland missed two free throws with 28 second left to give Mercer a chance to tie the game. But, the Bears turned the ball over with 20 seconds left to give the ball back to the Lady Owls.
Rodgers was fouled with 15.4 seconds remaining and made both free throws to put FAU up 75-70. After a tip-in by Tracy Henry drew Mercer to within 75-72 with six seconds left, Rodgers was fouled and went 1-of-2 from the line to give FAU a 76-72 lead.
"I'm just so proud our team," said FAU head coach Chancellor Dugan. "They played really hard down the stretch and did a great job holding on for the victory. We hit some big free throws."
"This is what we've played for all year long," added Dugan. "We advanced to the final with a chance to win the conference championship."
Rodgers and Pierce were the only two players for FAU to finish in double figures. Fau shot 40 percent but held Mercer to only 36 percent shooting. The Lady Owls held a 44-41 advantage on the boards and went 32-of-43 from the free throw line.
Dugan's 200th victory comes in her 11th season as a head coach. She won her first 159 games in eight seasons as the coach at the University of Southern Indiana.
Saturday's championship game will begin at 4:00pm and will be aired live on WLVJ 640-AM and Sunshine Network.