Lady Owls blow 13-point first half lead, lose 64-61 to Western Kentucky

Zack Kelberman

Guard Breana Turner rushes a Western Kentucky defender early in the game. The Owls took an early lead, but entered halftime down by one, 30-31. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
Guard Breana Turner rushes a Western Kentucky defender early in the game. The Owls took an early lead, but entered halftime down by one, 30-31. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
Basketball is a game of two halves. The Lady Owls found that out the hard way on Wednesday night.

Blowing a 13-point first half lead — and double-figure performances by three players — the Owls (11-13) lost 64-61 to Western Kentucky at The Burrow.

Forward Chenise Miller and guards Latavia Dempsey and Breana Turner combined for 40 points, but it wasn’t enough as FAU was defeated for the sixth time in its last seven games.

Coach Kellie Lewis-Jay was not pleased with what went wrong in the annual Play4Kay contest, which raises breast cancer awareness.

“Tonight was a tough one,” Lewis-Jay said.

Center Jasmine Queen defends against Hilltopper Alexis Govan during the second half. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
Center Jasmine Queen defends against Hilltopper Alexis Govan during the second half. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
“Looking forward to watching the film ASAP.”

Miller, the Owls’ leading scorer, finished with 14 points (on 6-9 shooting) and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. Dempsey similarly had 14 points coming in 36 minutes of play. Turner totaled 12 points in a brief nine minutes.

Despite those efforts, FAU, who led 21-9 at one point during the first half, was heavily outrebounded by Western Kentucky (43 to 31) and committed a game-high 24 turnovers.

Those two factors, Lewis-Jay feels, contributed to the Owls’ sixth

Trailing Western Kentucky, guard Breana Turner attempts a lay up near the end of the second half. The Owls lost to the Hilltoppers 64-61 Wednesday night. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
Trailing Western Kentucky, guard Breana Turner attempts a lay up near the end of the second half. The Owls lost to the Hilltoppers 64-61 Wednesday night. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
loss in its last seven games.

“We had our chances,” Lewis-Jay said. “Unfortunately it comes down to one of the big elephants we have been preaching: rebounding. It is painful to watch us play so hard on D, then give up an extra possession.”

As a team, FAU shot 40 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range. They went to the half trailing 31-30, but without starting guard Takia Brooks, found it tough to hang with a superior Sun Belt Conference opponent.

“If you would have told me it would be a one possession game with Takia not playing, I would have been extremely pleased with that,” Lewis-Jay said. “However, we have to continue to get better about not letting the ball in the key and rebounding.”

The Lady Owls play at Louisiana on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m.