Women’s basketball: FAU splits two-game Thanksgiving tournament

The Owls now stand at 3-3 on the season.


Junior Sasha Cedeno scored a team-high 35 points in the two games. Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic women’s basketball split its two-game Thanksgiving tournament, defeating Jacksonville State 63-55 on Friday, then falling to Richmond 77-67 on Saturday to drop to 3-3 on the season.

It was a tale of two games for FAU defensively. The team held Jacksonville State to 29 percent from the field but allowed Richmond to shoot 45 percent.

Richmond scored 45 points in the second half on 51.7 percent shooting. The Spiders only shot 37 percent in the first.

“We didn’t do a very good job [versus Richmond] being discipline to the system defensively,” head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay. “Yesterday [versus Jacksonville], I thought we had our best defensive game all season. Today, we kind of did a 180 and took a step back, so we need to get back to where we need to be.”

After averaging just nine points in the first four games of the season, junior Sasha Cedeno came alive in the tournament, averaging 17.5 points per game. She was just one of three players to score double digits in both games.

“She is a great three-point shooter but it’s good to see her getting to the basket and get easy buckets,” said Lewis-Jay. “She is somebody who is trying to expand her game overall and continues to work.”

Here’s a recap of both games:

Game 1: Jacksonville State 55, FAU 63

FAU used strong second and third quarter shooting to hold off Jacksonville State Friday night, defeating the Gamecocks 63-55 in the first of two games of the Thanksgiving tournament.

Cedeno recorded career highs with 19 points and nine rebounds, shooting 6-for-16 from the field.

The Owls held the Gamecocks to 29.3 percent from the field, including just 2-for-19 from the three-point line.

The first quarter was a back and forth contest between the two teams, which saw three lead changes. The Owls were held to 26 percent shooting in the period and trailed 11-8 after 10 minutes.

However, FAU went on an 18-0 run in a 3:30 span during the second quarter to take control of the game. The Owls shot 57 percent in the quarter, while holding the Gamecocks to 19 percent, and took a 28-19 lead into halftime.

The second half saw a closer affair between the two teams, as Jacksonville State cut the lead down several times in the third quarter and got as close as three points away. However, freshman Katelyn O’Reilly scored five unanswered points and added another basket at the end of the period to give the Owls a 43-36 lead going into the fourth.

The Gamecocks began the last quarter strong, cutting the Owls lead to three with about five minutes left to play. FAU was able to retake control, as Cedeno pushed the lead back to five with a layup and the Owls never looked back.

Besides Cedeno, the Owls did not have any other player score more than nine, but junior Raven Doyle was close to a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds.

The Gamecocks had two players with 10 or more points, led by Briana Benson’s 13 points and six rebounds.

Game 2: Richmond 77, FAU 67

Richmond’s Janelle Hubbard scored nine of her team’s 26 fourth-quarter points to erase an FAU 10-point lead and lead her team to a 77-67 victory.

Hubbard finished with 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including 4-for-4 from the three-point line.

Despite both teams beginning the game the game missing their first five shots from the field, the Owls shot 53 percent in the quarter and held the Spiders to 43 percent.

The Owls took a double-digit lead in the first quarter after a Jacey Bailey layup gave them a 20-10 lead.

However, Richmond went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to just three points, but not before a Cedeno buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Owls a 23-17 lead.

The second quarter saw the two teams shoot a combined 34 percent from the field along with a combined nine turnovers.

Despite the struggles, the Owls regained their double-digit advantage with a little under four minutes to play in the half, but the Spiders went on an 11-1 to cut FAU’s lead to 35-32 entering halftime.

Richmond was able to hang around FAU despite trailing for all but just 11 seconds into the game prior to fourth quarter. The Spiders shot 57 percent in the third quarter, and held FAU to 35 percent and just one 3-pointer.

Hubbard knocked down a jumper to tie the game at 51 heading into the fourth, then hit three straight 3-pointers to outscore the Owls 9-0 herself and give her team a nine-point lead.

The Owls were able to cut the lead down to six points with 1:36 remaining, but Richmond knocked down all seven of its free throw attempts to end the game.

Cedeno finished with 16 points to lead the Owls, knocking down four 3-pointers.

FAU will travel to Tucson and take on the University of Arizona on Dec. 1 at 9:00 p.m.

Hans Belot Jr. is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.