March 9, 2002
TROY, AL - Florida Atlantic University's bid for a first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament came up short in Saturday's 64-63 loss to Georgia State University in the championship game of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. A put-back by GSU's Holly Coates with two seconds remaining proved to be the difference. FAU (17-14) was led by Julie Goad, who scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half. Chantale Jones and Janka Deckerova each added 10.
A jumper by Jones with 2:04 left in the game gave FAU a 63-57 lead before GSU ended the game with a 7-0 run. Trailing 63-62 with 21 seconds left, Georgia State (21-9) had the ball with one last opportunity. Coates grabbed an offensive rebound with time running down to score what turned out to be the game-winner.
FAU had control of the game in the first half. After GSU started out with a 7-2 lead, FAU went on a 14-2 run and later took a 38-24 lead with 2:04 left in the half on a lay-up by Tamica Pierce. That proved to be a turning point in the contest as Pierce injured her right ankle on the play and did not return to the game. GSU scored the last four points of the half to cut the FAU lead down to 38-28.
The Lady Panthers stretched the run to a 16-0 spurt with 12 straight points to start the second half. A three-pointer by Marica Maddox gave Georgia State a 43-40 lead with 14:25 to play. It would turn out to be their largest lead of the game. A lay-up by Jones with 12:12 left gave FAU a 46-44 lead. The Lady Owls would hold a four-point lead on three separate occasions after that before upping the lead to six with 2:04 to play.
"It was unbelievable the way this team pulled together," said FAU head coach Chancellor Dugan. "When Tamica went down and (Georgia State) went on that big run, we could have just folded. It's a credit to the character of this team and to the two seniors that have been such a big part of our success over the last three years."
FAU ended the season with the most wins in its Division I history. The loss also ended the careers of Jones and Kristy Halvorsen. Jones finished third all-time at FAU in steals and assists while Halvorsen finished first in games played and second in rebounds.
Pierce scored nine points prior to her injury. She finished the season with 497 points.