Nov. 20, 2011
Boca Raton, FL - The Florida Atlantic University women's basketball team relied on a strong defensive effort and domination in rebounding to improve to 3-1 on the season with a 68-46 victory over Florida rival Bethune-Cookman University on Sunday afternoon at the FAU Arena in Boca Raton.
The 3-1 mark is the Owls' best start to a season since the 1991-92 season. All three victories have come at home.
"We may be off to a good start, but we're far from satisfied with our overall play. There's room for improvement and we'll start that process in practice this next week," said Chancellor Dugan, FAU's head women's basketball coach. "It is nice to see us showing improvement in areas that we focused on during the off season and preseason practices: team defense and rebounding."
FAU held the visiting Wildcats to 32 percent shooting and 15 first-half points to seize control of the non-conference game. The team also held a commanding 42-22 rebound margin, made 54 percent of its field goals and once again had a balanced offensive attack, with three double-figure scorers.
"We came out strong and set the pace early. That was encouraging to see from a team that had just played a game on Friday night," Dugan said.
After Bethune-Cookman scored after the opening tip, the Owls rattled off 14 straight points to take a 14-2 lead with 13:46 left. Sophomore guard Latavia Dempsey scored eight straight points over a three-minute stretch to increase the lead to 24-6 with 9:57 remaining.
FAU enjoyed its largest lead of the game at 29 points, 39-10, following a layup by sophomore forward Chenise Miller at the 1:56 mark in the first half. The closest the Wildcats got in the second half was 21 points, 54-33, with 8:21 left in the game.
Dempsey paced the offensive attack with 15 points. The St. Petersburg native has come off the bench to score in double digits in all four games this season. She made 3-of-7 shots from behind the three-point line.
Miller chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds, while senior guard Teri Stamps also scored 10 points. Rounding out the balanced scoring was senior guard Viviana Penate, who came off the bench for nine points, and senior guard DaLita Scott added eight points.
Bethune-Cookman (1-2) was led by Jasmine Elum's 15 points and Jalisa Isaac had 14 points.
FAU returns to the court in the first of three games at the BTI Tipoff Classic at the University of Kansas on Friday, November 25, with a game against IUPUI of Indiana, starting at 5:30 p.m. The team will also play Lamar and the host Jayhawks in the tournament.
"We really sought a tournament like this because it replicates the challenge that we'll face in the Sun Belt Conference tournament at the end of the season - playing as many as three games in successive days," said Dugan. "We're looking forward to the challenge and the adventure."
Live statistics and audio of Friday's game can be found at www.fausports.com. For season and single game tickets call the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.