Women’s basketball preview: FAU hosts a pair of Texas-based conference opponents

The Owls are winless in Conference USA so far this season.


Junior guard Nika Zyryanova has started in 10 of FAU’s 14 games this season. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic women’s basketball finds itself in a tough spot in the standings after dropping its first three conference games of the year.

All three of the conference losses for the Owls (4-10, 0-3 Conference USA) have been on the road — a 76-55 blowout at the hands of Western Kentucky University and a 76-53 loss to Marshall University before dropping its last game against rival Florida International University 74-65 last Saturday.

This week, FAU will try to reverse its fortune when it hosts a pair of Texas-based schools, first the University of Texas at San Antonio and then UTEP.

Here’s what you need to know about both matchups:

UTSA Roadrunners:

The Roadrunners (6-8, 2-1 Conference USA) have had a tough time scoring the basketball, but one player has taken it upon herself to win her team games, averaging 22 points in the Roadrunners’ wins.

Junior Loryn Goodwin has been one of the few positives so far, leading the team in scoring — and second in the conference — posting an average of 19.6 points per game. She also leads her team in assists per game (4.1), steals per game (3.57) and is second in rebounding with 5.9 per game.

Despite Goodwin’s scoring, UTSA has not found another consistent scorer. Senior Tesha Smith is the only other Roadrunner to be scoring in double digits this season, averaging 11.4 points per game.

UTSA, as a team, averages 66 points per game on 37 percent shooting, which is second to last in Conference USA. The team also shoots 27.8 percent from the three, which is also second to last in the conference.

Defensively, the Roadrunners have not been much better either, allowing 67.9 points per game which is ranked 11th out of 14 teams in the conference.

UTSA is allowing opponents to shoot 40.6 percent from the field, and 29.8 percent from deep.

The Owls need to take advantage of the Roadrunners’ poor defense, despite coming in the game as one of the worst offensive teams in the conference.

FAU averages 64.6 points per game on 39 percent shooting, both ranking in the bottom four of Conference USA. The Owls also shoot 30 percent from deep, ranking 12th in the conference.

Sasha Cedeno, who leads FAU with 10.6 points per game, comes off the bench and has only started six games on the season.

UTEP Miners:

Senior Sparkle Taylor is the lone player to score at least 10 points per game for the Miners this season, averaging 16.7. She also leads her team in steals and rebounds per game.

Due to the low production of the rest of the team, UTEP (4-11, 1-2 Conference USA) ranks 12th in the conference in scoring, averaging 63.3 points per game. The Miners also shoot just 38.8 percent from the field — ranking 12th in the conference — and a league-worst 24.6 percent from three-point land.

UTEP has also struggled defensively, allowing opponents to score 69 points per game and 31.6 percent from deep, both ranking in the bottom fourth of the conference.

The Miners have had success rebounding the ball, ranking second in the conference in total rebounds (42.6 per game), fourth in offensive rebounding and third in defensive rebounding.

The Owls are last in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 72.5 points per game this season, but will need to limit Taylor’s production in the game.

The Owls are also poor at forcing turnovers, averaging just 4.9 steals per game, last in the conference, and have a turnover margin of -5.9, also last in the conference.

Hans Belot Jr. is the sports editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.