Women’s basketball: FAU pulls away from Florida Memorial in season-opening victory

All 11 Owls that touched the court scored at least a basket.


Junior Raven Doyle collected her first career double-double in the Owls opening day victory. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Brendan Feeney, Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic women’s basketball used a collective team effort to win its season opener 84-64 over Florida Memorial on Friday night in Boca Raton.

The Owls (1-0) jumped out to an early 8-0 advantage and carried a seven-point lead into the half. Although Florida Memorial pulled within five points on several occasions and played an even second quarter, FAU never surrendered the lead and used the third quarter to extend it to 18 points.

“I think defensively we picked it up,” head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay said. “Rebounding wise, I thought that was a huge issue for us in the first half … we got to be able to play defense and rebound to be able to go to our strengths offensively.”

The team’s strength offensively lies beyond the three-point line. After breaking a Conference USA record with made 3-pointers last year, junior Nika Zyryanova hit a three on the Owls first shot of this season.

Their next four shots all came from behind the three-point line, and in the game they made 9-of-29 attempts.

Junior Malia Kency, who shot 4-for-9 from three, led the team with 16 points. Junior Raven Doyle collected her first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“Raven has stepped up her game, Raven is taking on a leadership role,” Lewis-Jay said. “You can tell she wants to be great, that she’s pushing the younger kids to be good, and I’m happy for her because she’s working really hard right now.”

All 11 FAU players that touched the court scored at least one basket.

“It’s definitely fun when everyone’s contributing,” Doyle said. “You can’t help but not get excited for everyone … it was a lot of fun.”

Included in the 11 players were five freshmen, each of whom registered at least 11 minutes and two points. Katelyn O’Reilly and Jacey Bailey, the lone freshman starter, led the newcomers with 10 and nine points respectively.

“I thought Jayce started really well … she’s an athlete and she can handle the ball,” Lewis-Jay said. “Katelyn’s going to give it everything she has when she goes out there, [Alexis Shannon] played great defense.”

Freshman Julia Jenike, the lowest scoring of the freshman, recorded six assists in 11 minutes.

“I mean that’s impressive, I don’t even know if that’s possible,” the coach said. “She’s going to have an assist every time she touches the ball.”

Ashley Henry’s 15 points led Florida Memorial before she fouled out with 5:44 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The victory marks FAU’s sixth opening day win in the past eight years, which followed a previous losing streak of 10 straight.

“It feels really good, just being back out on the court with all these newcomers and just seeing the new potential we have with this team and what we can do this year,” Doyle said.

The Owls next game is Monday, Nov. 14, against Indiana State at 6 p.m. in Boca Raton.

Brendan Feeney is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @feeney42.