Women’s Basketball: Season in review

After starting the season 10-3, the Owls could only manage four wins in their final 17 games.


Max Jackson

Redshirt senior guard Ali Gorrell (23) led the Owls in scoring during her final season. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Chris Libreros, Contributing Writer

In a season that started with a four-game win streak for the Owls, the Florida Atlantic women’s basketball season had career highs, senior farewells, broken records and all the highs and lows that come with a team whose winning percentage is just under 50 percent.

Sporting wins over in-state rivals Florida International University and Florida Gulf Coast University, the Owls jumped out to an impressive 10-3 start in their first thirteen games.

Riding a five-game winning streak, FAU’s momentum was derailed on Jan. 9 — the turning point of the season — when it came out for its third Conference USA matchup of the season against the Lady Toppers of Western Kentucky University.

In their first loss to a Conference USA opponent, the Owls displayed what would go on to be their Achilles’ heel this season as WKU outrebounded FAU by 15 in an 81-62 blowout at home, despite 12 made 3-pointers on 20 attempts. The Owls were outrebounded by an average of -7.2 per game this season, the second worst in the conference.

Following the loss, which FAU women’s basketball head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay called “very disappointing,” the Owls nose-dived. They went on to lose 10 of their next 11 games by an average margin of 11.6 points per game during a span of six weeks before finally winning again on Feb. 20 over North Texas.

One of the few bright spots this year for FAU was the team’s phenomenal three-point shooting. The Owls set a new university and conference record this season with 294 made 3-pointers, 30 more than the previous record of 264 set three years ago.

Junior guard Kat Wright and sophomore forward Sasha Cedeno led the charge for the Owls’ lethal three-point shooting attack  

Wright averaged a career-high 11.7 points per game, cracking the top 30 scorers in the conference behind 87 made 3-pointers this year, the second most in the conference. In FAU’s Jan. 30 matchup against Charlotte, Wright broke the Conference USA record for made 3-pointers in a single game by hitting eleven, nearly doubling the 14 other players’ records — tied at second with only six.

Cedeno carried more than her fair share as well, leading the conference in three-point percentage, making 44.2 percent from behind the arc. The sophomore put that accuracy on display in FAU’s first meeting against the eventual conference champion Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, when she shot a perfect 5-for-5 from deep, a feat only done by two other players in all of Conference USA this year.

The Owls’ final game of the 2015-2016 season was in a first-round meeting in the Conference USA Tournament against the University of North Texas Mean Green.

In what would also be the last game of her collegiate career, FAU senior guard Ali Gorrell scored 30, tying her career high for points in a game. All of this came in the second half of the 79-74 loss to the Mean Green.

Gorrell was the seventh top scorer in the conference, averaging a career-best 15.3 points per game.

She was named to the All-Conference USA Second Team, thanks to the fact that she could offer more than just impact scoring. She led the team in all major statistical categories including assists, rebounds and steals, including posting four double-doubles this year.

Not all of Gorrell’s success came on the court this year though, as for the second consecutive year, she was named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team, holding a GPA of 3.69 in multimedia studies with a concentration in journalism.

Heading into the future, FAU loses two extremely talented seniors in Gorrell and guard Morgan Robinson, as the two were part of the top three scorers on the team. Lewis-Jay now faces her next challenge this offseason in the development of her returning players as well as the recruitment of future ones.

With nine players, including the aforementioned Cedeno and Wright, returning next year, will Lewis-Jay add an even greater emphasis on jump shots following last season? Time will tell.

Lewis-Jay and the Owls finished with a 14-16 record. The team is now 55-64 in her four years as head coach.

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