Dec. 29, 2011
Jonesboro, AR - A balanced scoring attack and stingy defensive effort led the Florida Atlantic University women's basketball team to a commanding 57-44 victory in its Sun Belt Conference opener Thursday night at Arkansas State University's Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark.
The triumph was the Owls' second in conference openers since joining the SBC, and improved the team's record to 6-6 on the season. Arkansas State, the preseason No. 2 choice in the league's Western Division, falls to 5-8 overall.
"Road wins are special and conference wins are even more important. We played with good poise and was able to control the rebounding edge in the first half," said Chancellor Dugan, FAU's head women's basketball coach. "We made the extra pass on offense, dove for loose balls, played strong defensively and hit free throws down the stretch. It is certainly nice to get started on the right foot in conference play."
Sophomore post player Chenise Miller paced the offensive attack with 12 points. Sophomore guard Takia Brooks chipped in nine points, making 7-of-8 free throw attempts. Sophomore guard Latavia Dempsey added eight points, while senior guard Teri Stamps and senior forward Vontrice Dennis scored six points each.
"It was a total team effort, and that's what it is going to take to achieve our No. 1 goal - winning the conference championship," said Dugan.
The Owls shot 45.5 percent (making 20 of 44 shots) from the floor and a strong defensive effort held the host Red Wolves to 31.5 percent, including hitting just one of 16 three-point field goal attempts. FAU commanded the boards by a 39-23 margin as Miller, Brooks, Stamps and Dennis each having six rebounds.
Arkansas State broke quickly out of the starting blocks, leading 13-6 after the first five minutes. Then, the Owls went on a run of its own, outscoring the hosts 13-4 run over the next six minutes to take a 19-17 lead after a three-point field goal by Stamps. The lead would grow to seven, 24-17, at the 3:57 mark following a layup by Brooks. FAU held the Red Wolves scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the first half.
FAU held a 26-20 lead at halftime and never trailed in the second half. Arkansas State got within five points, 44-39, with 5:14 remaining before the Owls closed out the game on a 13-5 run. Dennis scored all six of her points in the second half. Arkansas State was led by NeNe Hurst with 16 points while Jane Morrill added 12 points.
FAU returns to the court on Saturday, December 31, at 3 p.m. when it travels to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette for a second straight road game. Live audio and statistics of the game can be found at www.fausports.com. For season and single-game tickets contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.