Nov. 24, 2012
Coral Gables, FL - Two double-double performances led a high-scoring attack that allowed the Florida Atlantic University women’s basketball team to defeat Southern Illinois University 85-81 on Saturday in the consolation game of the Miami Thanksgiving Classic at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center.
Junior forward Chenise Miller had career vhighs for points (28) and rebounds (14) and senior guard Breana Turner scored a season-high 19 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds, in the victory over the Missouri Valley Conference opponent. Junior guard Takia Brooks gave the Owls a third double-figure scorer with 17 points.
The first half featured nine lead changes and eight ties as the Salukis held a 47-43 lead. Southern Illinois’ Cartaesha Macklin scored 26 of her game-high 34 points in the first half.
Much of the same game action followed in the second half. Southern Illinois (0-4) moved on top 51-44 with 18:14 left in the game before FAU went on 13-0 run to take the lead. Turner scored six straight points after the game was tied at 51.
Junior forward Shanequa Schrouder gave the Owls a 61-56 lead with 13:30 left. However, Southern Illinois responded with four straight points to cut the deficit to 61-60 after a layup by Mercedes Griffin with 12:51 remaining.
FAU would hold a 73-66 lead at the 7:17 mark before a 7-0 Saluki run tied the game for the 10th time. The game would be evened with 4:17 left, following a 3-point field goal by SIU’s Rishonda Napier, and at 76 before Owls had the game’s final run in the final three minutes.
Turner and Miller capped consecutive offensive possessions with layups to build an 80-76 cushion. Brooks made a floating six-foot jumper with 36 seconds left to give FAU an 82-78 lead. Then, Miller and Brooks made free throws in the closing seconds to secure the victory.
“Those three kids (Brooks, Miller and Turner) hit some key shots late in the game,” said Kellie Lewis-Jay, FAU’s head women’s basketball coach. “I really thought that a major factor in us executing late in the game was the fact we were able to wear (SIU) down. It is tough to play us for 40 minutes. It worked toward our advantage today.”
FAU shot 43 percent from the floor and made 23 of its 32 free throws. The team forced the Salukis into 19 turnovers.
The Owls improved to 3-2 on the season and open Sun Belt Conference play on Wednesday, November 28 against the University of South Alabama, starting at 7 p.m. in the FAU Arena. Live audio and statistics of the game can be found here. Season and single-game tickets are available by contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.