Carla Stubbs scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half of Saturday's win over Middle Tennessee
Feb. 24, 2009
Florida Atlantic (11-15, 8-8 Sun Belt) at Western Kentucky (15-11, 9-7 Sun Belt)
E.A. Diddle Arena - Bowling Green, KY
Wednesday, February 25 - 8 p.m.
GAME TWENTY-SEVEN: The Florida Atlantic University women's basketball needs a win to all but wrap up a home game in Round one of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the face WKU Wednesday, February 25 at 8 p.m.
SERIES: WKU leads 5-0. In the previous meeting on January 11, the Lady Toppers' Amy McNear hit a three-pointer from just inside of half court to spoil a second-half comeback for the Owls and give WKU a 79-77 win.
RADIO/INTERNET: Steve Bishop will call the action with streaming audio and video beginning at 7:45 p.m. on www.fausports.com.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC: FAU hung on at the end after Middle Tennessee's Brandi Brown missed a late potential game-tying three-pointer gave the Owls a 73-70 win over the then 25th ranked Blue Raiders. It's the first win for the Owls ever over a Division I top- 25 team. Breana Turner (New Orleans, LA/De La Salle HS) led FAU with 18 points. She had two early buckets that gave the Owls a 10-2 lead early, and got to the free-throw line often in the second half. Her five-of-six shooting from the line gave FAU a lead as high as 14 points in the second half. Jessica Knurick (Commerce, MI/Walled Lake Northern HS) shot seven-of-10 from the field and tied her career-high with 16 points and Carla Stubbs (Miami/Jackson HS) scored 11 first-half points and 13 on the game. Her put back at the buzzer of an Andrea Taylor miss gave FAU a 39-33 halftime lead. The Owls shot 51 percent (27-53) and forced MTSU below their season average in three-point shooting (9-28, 32 percent) and above their average in turnovers (18).
WESTERN KENTUCKY: WKU is currently one game ahead of FAU in the Sun Belt East division. The Lady Toppers are 9-7 after picking up a split last week. WKU lost to UALR 56-40 on Wednesday and picked up a 83-74 home win over FIU on Sunday. Arnika Brown had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Brown is a Sun Belt player of the year candidate who leads the conference in rebounding at just under 12 boards per game. She leads the team in scoring at 15 points per game. Guard Kenzie Rich is the main backcourt threat, as she's second on the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game, knocks down 31 percent of her three-pointers (30-109) and leads the conference in free-throw shooting at just under 87 percent (57-66). Amy McNear led the Lady Toppers in the last game against FAU with 21 points on nine-of-11 shooting. She's the third WKU player in double-digits at 11.6 points per game and leads the conference in assists per game at over five per contest.
TURNER NAMED SUN BELT CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Breana Turner was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week for her efforts in the Owls 73-70 win over No. 25 Middle Tennessee on February 21. It is the first-ever win over a top-25 team and the first time an FAU player has been named SBC Player of the Week since FAU joined the conference. Turner is also the first freshman to be named Player of the Week by the SBC this season. This was Turner's third start of the year, and she was the focal point on offense early. As her two early lay-ups gave the Owls an early 10-2 lead, her nine first-half points gave FAU a 39-33 halftime lead. Turner made it to the free-throw line frequently in the second-half. She went five-of-six from the foul line and her foul shots gave FAU a lead by as many as 14 points with eight minutes to go.
IF THE SUN BELT TOURNAMENT STARTED TODAY: The 13 seeds would look like this heading into Saturday.
1. Middle Tennessee (15-1)
2. UALR (14-2)
3. South Alabama (10-7)
4. Denver (9-7)
5. Western Kentucky (9-7)
6. Troy (8-8)
7. Florida Atlantic (8-8)
8. Arkansas State (8-8)
9. New Orleans (8-9)
10. North Texas (6-10)
11. ULM (6-10)
12. FIU (4-12)
13. ULL (0-16)
TWO IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: The Owls can clinch a home game in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a win tonight over WKU along with a New Orleans loss to UALR. If the Owls and Privateers both lose tonight, FAU can still secure a home game with a win at FIU on Saturday night.
OWLS PLAY STRONG SCHEDULE: FAU played some of the top teams in the country this season. FAU has defeated three teams this year that were in the RPI Top-100 at the time of victory, according to www.realtimerpi.com. FAU defeated South Alabama (88) on January 1, ULM (98) January 21, and Middle Tennessee (27) on February 21.
WHAT A TURNAROUND: With the Owls win over Middle Tennessee, FAU has improved its overall win total from six last season to 11 wins so far this season. The five win improvement ties FAU with 10 other NCAA schools for the 18th biggest turnaround from the 2007-08 season to 2008-09.
CONFERENCE IMPROVEMENTS: FAU has shown statistical improvement in a number of categories during conference play.
Field Goal %: 39.6 37.4
Free Throw %: 72.5 65.1
Three-Point %: 30.1 27.1
Assist-Turnover Ratio .84 .68
Turnover Margin +3.6 +0.5
KEEPING IT CLOSE: The Owls have played in a number of tight games this season. The Owls have played in ten games that were decided by six points or less this year. That's compared to six games that were decided by the same margin all of last year. FAU is 4-6 in contests decided by six points or less. That total does not include the 76-66 overtime loss to Denver and the Owls latest win over the Pioneers, which was a four-point game until the final minutes.
NEXT UP The Owls wrap up the 2008-09 regular season against Florida International in Miami on Saturday, February 28 at 5 p.m. Live streaming audio of that game is available for free at www.fausports.com.