Women’s basketball: FAU improves to 2-0 in conference play with 79-71 victory over Arkansas State

Guard+Breana+Turner+dives+for+the+ball+after+the+Wolves+lost+possession+during+the+first+period.+Photo+by+Ryan+Murphy.

Ryan Murphy

Guard Breana Turner dives for the ball after the Wolves lost possession during the first period. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

Rolando Rosa

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The Kellie-Lewis Jay era is off to a successful start.

Led by a career high 29 points, eight rebounds and two blocks from forward Chenise Miller, FAU women’s basketball defeated Arkansas State 79-71 at the Burrow.

“Sometimes [during home games] I felt like I have a little pressure,” Miller said. “Today, I just felt like I was going to let everything go and just play the game.”

The Owls (5-2 overall, 2-0 in Sun Belt play) scored 22 points off 27 Red Wolves turnovers. Guard Breana Turner chipped in 22 points and six rebounds off the bench for the Owls in the win.

“We know that every night Bre [Turner] is going to give us something,” Miller said. “She’s an emotional leader and a leader on the floor, so just her coming in and knocking down shots and taking charges was big for us.”

Miller scored FAU’s first 11 points of the game on an array of post up moves and had 17 of the Owls 32 points at the break. FAU struggled in the first half from behind the 3-point line (1-8) but heated up after halftime, connecting on 4-8 the final 20 minutes.

The Owls trailed by three at the half but used pressure defense to retake the lead. With the score 76-71 with under three minutes left, the Red Wolves did not score for the rest of the game. A pair of turnovers and a Kim Smith layup off a steal with 1:24 gave the Owls a seven point advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.

“Our thing is, when we first put in the system, kids wanted to get steals off the ball,” Owls head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay said. “My thing is: we shouldn’t get too many in the first half. We should wear them out. That’s our goal. By the second half, we wear teams down and then those turnovers start happening.”

Miller went to the bench with 6:29 left and FAU up five. When she returned with 4:17, the Owls were up eight, thanks largely to Turner. While Miller was resting, she scored seven points on a jumper, a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws.

“We played our starters way, way too much in the first half,” Lewis-Jay said. “We’ve got to get some more production from some more people and get our numbers evened out a little bit.”

Lewis-Jay wasn’t shocked by Miller’s career day. In fact, she even expected it.

“She was good today. I walked in the locker room after the last game and teased her a little bit and said she should be ready to go next game because she had a game off playing 11 minutes,” Lewis-Jay said. “But she was great. She started out strong, confident. When she goes to the basket instead of fading away, she’s a much better player.”