Boca Raton, FL - Expectations are high and anticipation even higher as the Florida Atlantic University women’s basketball team prepares to open the 2011-12 season against Warner University, on Friday, November 11 at 7 p.m., in the FAU Arena, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.
“Everybody is excited about opening the season,” said Chancellor Dugan, ready to embark on her 13th season as FAU’s head women’s basketball coach. “The girls are looking forward to Friday night. We are well-prepared.”
With the season opener being on Veterans Day, it will be a special night in which local veterans and FAU ROTC cadets presenting the colors for the national anthem during pregame ceremonies. The women’s basketball program is also offering free admission to local veterans and their families, as well as special ticket packages. For tickets, contact the FAU ticket office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS. FAU returns 11 letter winners and four starters from last year’s squad that posted a winning non-conference record, including a 103-48 victory over Webber International University in last year’s season opener.
"At this early point in the season, we are really concerned about how we are executing our offense and defense," said Dugan. "We take a close look at some of the fundamentals in passing and ball handling. We just want to be sharp in all phases of the game."
The Owls have a veteran team with eight seniors on the roster. Senior post player Vontrice Dennis was the leading rebounder on last year’s team, averaging 6.8 rebounds per game, and had four double-doubles in points and rebounds. The Miami native also averaged 8.3 points per game last year, ranking third on the squad.
The list of seniors also features guard Teri Stamps, who led last year’s team with 61 assists and was voted the team’s lone captain for this season; and forward April Goins, who hopes to build on last year’s strong finish, scoring a career-best 25 points against FIU in the last weekend of the season. Goins also tallied a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds against Arkansas State University in the Sun Belt Conference tournament game.
"We have a lot of leaders, more than we had last year," said Stamps. "Everybody is being accountable and each player has added their own piece of leadership qualities (to the team)."
Another talented senior, guard Breana Turner, sustained an injury during preseason workouts after earning third-team All-Sun Belt Conference preseason honors. She is expected to miss a majority of this season, according to Dugan.
Rounding out this year’s top players are redshirt sophomore post player Chenise Miller, making her long-awaited FAU debut after transferring from Eastern Michigan University; sophomore guard Takia Brooks, who led last year’s Owls by making 38 percent of her three-point field goals; and sophomore guard Kimberly Smith, who made 18 starts last winter. Another newcomer is community college transfer Kelsey Proctor, who is the team’s tallest player at 6-foot-3-inches, and should help improve the team’s defense and rebounding.
FAU will be playing Warner for the first time in program history. The NAIA Division II-affiliated-university from Lake Wales is a member of The Sun Conference. The team had a 15-17 record last year and advanced to the conference’s tournament semifinals for the second consecutive season. The Lady Royals opened the season with an 88-74 loss to Southern Oregon University on November 3 before an 88-69 victory over Edward Waters College on November 9. Shawnelle Campbell, a senior guard, scored a career-high 35 points against Southern Oregon, making 10 of her 20 field goals and 11 of 12 free throws.
Live statistics and audio of the game will be available at www.fausports.com.