Women’s basketball: Owls notch tenth win of season in 79-67 victory over North Texas

Zack Kelberman

FAU guard Kimberly Smith looking to pass the ball to guard Briah Blakely. Photo by Jordanne Pitter.
FAU guard Kimberly Smith looking to pass the ball to guard Briah Blakely. Photo by Jordanne Pitter.
It was the Chenise Miller show on Saturday at The Burrow.

With a double-double effort –– 24 points and 12 rebounds –– from Miller, the Lady Owls defeated North Texas 79-67, improving their season record to 10-7.

Miller, the team’s leading scorer, also had an assist, two steals, and three blocks to go along with her 24 points (on 10-14 shooting) and 12 boards in 34 minutes.

Remaining true to her humble nature, the junior forward downplayed her performance.

“I give the credit to my teammates,” Miller said. “When they penetrated middle, they kicked it to me down low. We tried to focus on boxing out and rebounding, so definitely credit to them.”

Rebounding is one area where FAU dominated North Texas (52-38), along with bench points (38-5). The statistics pleased Owls coach Kellie Lewis-Jay.

“Those are major areas of improvement from the team,” Lewis-Jay said. “I keep harping on how rebounding has been a big issue for us, but if we keep rebounding like we did tonight, I will be very happy.”

Breana Turner also came to play in a convincing team win. The senior guard recorded 17 points, five rebounds, and three steals, drawing praise from Miller.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Miller said when asked if she was proud of Turner’s outing. “Especially for her coming back (from injury), it’s always good to see. I feel like when Breana does well, we all do well.”

Turner, playing 17 minutes, displayed solid defensive prowess, holding North Texas defenders in check and recording three steals.

Briah Blakely attempting a long-range shot against North Texas. Blakely totaled five points in the Owls' 79-67 win. Photo by Jordanne Pitter.
Briah Blakely attempting a long-range shot against North Texas. Blakely totaled five points in the Owls’ 79-67 win. Photo by Jordanne Pitter.
“I try not to let them get the ball,” Turner said. “I think we’re doing good as a team. As long as we’re on the same page, we’ll wear teams down.”

Aside from Miller and Turner, guards Kimberly Smith and Latavia Dempsey both had nine points. In a team-high 40 minutes, Smith also chipped in with 10 rebounds, six assists, and four steals.

As a whole, the Owls shot 43 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3-point range, and knocked down 10 of 16 free throws.

FAU went to halftime with a nine-point advantage, and never looked back.

By defeating North Texas, who leads the Sun Belt West, FAU bumped their conference record to 7-2 on the year.

Miller says it was important to get a victory of that magnitude.

“It felt really well,” Miller said. “Especially after our performance last week, it felt good to come out with energy and just beat them.”

FAU plays at Arkansas Little-Rock on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m.