Women’s basketball preview: FAU heads to Miami to face in-state rival FIU

FAU begins its last road trip of the season

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Owl’s sophomore guard Danneal Ford (00) tries to dribble past Rice’s Wendy Knight (10) towards the basket during FAU’s Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

Chris Libreros, Contributing Writer

The Florida Atlantic women’s basketball team is headed on the road to Miami for its lone game of the week on Saturday against in-state rival, Florida International University.

FAU (12-14, 4-11 C-USA) is currently coming off a 71-61 win over North Texas that snapped a seven-game losing streak in the Owls’ home finale Saturday night. With the victory, FAU closed the gap between the North Texas Mean Green that’s currently one place above the Owls in Conference USA standings.

Here’s what you need to know for this week’s matchup against FIU.

The FIU Golden Panthers (4-22, 2-13 C-USA) are currently on a two-game losing streak after recent home losses to both Rice and North Texas, as part of 18 losses in their last 20 games. FIU has struggled for most of the season — only accumulating four wins all year — placing them as the last place seed in Conference USA.

Saturday’s player to watch is FAU redshirt senior guard Ali Gorrell.

Gorrell is currently averaging 15.1 points per game — which leads the Owls in scoring. This places her seventh out of the top ten scorers in the conference this season.

Part of Gorrell’s effectiveness comes from her multidimensional game: She leads FAU in assists, rebounding and steals. Her willingness to make her teammates better is part of what makes her essential as the team’s leader.

A key in FAU’s gameplan against the Golden Panthers is 3-point shooting. FIU is statistically the fourth worst three-point team headed into the matchup against the second best 3-point shooting team in the conference.

FAU’s team features three players currently in the top ten in three-point makes.

Look for big games from junior forward Kat Wright, who is currently ranked second in three-point makes, as well as senior guard Morgan Robinson — who’s ranked eighth in makes. Sophomore forward Sasha Cedeno leads the conference in 3-point shooting percentage, shooting 49 percent from behind the arc.

Predictions

Featured in Saturday’s rivalry are the two worst defenses in the conference in terms of points allowed, setting the stage for what should be a high scoring affair for both teams.

Typically, rivalry games are highly contested toss-ups that both teams look forward to on their calendar. However, FAU has won the last three meetings versus FIU, with their last matchup being a five-point victory at home back in January.

Expect ball movement to play a major role in FAU’s offense as the team is the second best passing team in the conference.

For the second and final meeting this season between these two rivals, I expect a track-meet pace with FAU just barely beating FIU in an 86-82 barn burner.

With a victory on Saturday, FAU can potentially move up the standings as the Mean Green takes on four conference teams featured in the top ten. To close out its season, North Texas has upcoming matchups against Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Old Dominion and Charlotte.

Tipoff for this intra-state rivalry is set for Saturday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in FIU Arena.

Christopher Libreros is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him regarding this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.