Women’s basketball: Owls use second half scoring burst to win Sun Belt opener, 67-56, over South Alabama


Mohamed Abdihakim

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After a sloppy first half, FAU’s Lady Owls used a second half rally to beat South Alabama 67-56 to open up Sun Belt Conference play.

This was a mistake-ridden game for both teams. FAU (4-2 overall record) and South Alabama combined for 49 turnovers on the night. Fortunately for the Lady Owls, South Alabama accounted for 26.

The Owls trailed 29-22 at the half before rallying to victory. FAU head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay was admittedly surprised by her team’s early struggles.

“Frankly, we looked like we hadn’t practiced,” Lewis-Jay said. “It was a frustrating first half. I wasn’t sure who that team was that we were coaching in the first half, but I was really happy with our second half.”

Owls’ junior guard Briah Blakely had a career-high 11 points but also led the defensive charge tonight, collecting two steals and a block. Blakely initiated an intensified effort from FAU in the second half, hounding South Alabama’s back court.

“I was just trying to get myself and my teammates going on the defensive end,” Blakely said.

Offensively, the Owls started to gather themselves as the game progressed. In the second half, FAU shot 63 percent from the field.

Owls junior guard Kimberly Smith led all scorers with a season-high 19 points, and also had six assists.

“I felt great,” Smith said. “It was all because of my teammates. My shot hasn’t been falling, but I kept sticking with it. There’s no way I would have been open without my teammates setting screens tonight. It was all because of them.”

Smith shot a sharp 8 for 11 from the field, going 3 for 5 from deep. She also hit the boards hard, snagging four rebounds on the night.

Blakely’s defensive effort tonight did not go unnoticed by her head coach.

“Briah was really good for us. She thrives on her role as a defender,” Lewis-Jay said. “We call her position the hound position, it really sets the tone for us.”

The Lady Owls will be back at The Burrow to take on Arkansas State this Saturday, Dec. 1 at 12:00 p.m.