Women’s basketball preview: FAU to visit UAB and Middle Tennessee, still searching for first Conference USA win

The Owls have lost six straight games.


Junior Melinda Myers has helped the Owls become one of the top five rebounding teams in Conference USA. Photo by Mohammed F. Emran

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic women’s basketball has yet to register a win in Conference USA play, and as a result has found itself ranked last in the standings.

The Owls (4-12, 0-5 Conference USA) remain the only winless team in the conference and have lost six games in a row after a 72-62 loss to the University of Texas San-Antonio and a 51-50 heartbreaker to UTEP last week.

The Owls will try to snap their losing streak this week when they visit the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Middle Tennessee State University.

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

UAB Blazers:

It has been an up and down start to the season for the Blazers (8-8, 1-4 Conference USA), who after starting the season 6-3, have lost five of their last seven games.

The good start to the season may have been attributed to their defense, ranking in the conference’s top five in most categories.

UAB is fourth out of 14 teams in scoring defense, allowing only 61.8 points per game. Opponents are shooting just 37.8 percent from the field, which is also fourth in the conference.  

Defending the 3-pointer has been something the Blazers have done very well, as they rank second in Conference USA allowing 27.8 percent of deep balls to go in.

The Owls may have a tough time breaking down the Blazers defense. FAU averages just 63.6 points per game, which is 11th in Conference USA.

FAU also shoots poorly from the field and the three-point line. Its 38.9 field-goal percentage is 10th and it ranks 12th in shooting the three, making 30.4 percent per game.

Offensively, the Blazers have been a middle of the road team, led by balanced scoring. Rachael Childress is the only player who averages double-digit scoring, with 11 points per game.

As a team, UAB averages 65.8 points per game — ranked eighth in the conference — but does it on 42 percent shooting, which is fifth in Conference USA.

UAB is also the best three-point shooting team in the conference, shooting it at 36.8 percent. The Blazers also average 6.8 make per game, which is ranked third.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders:

The Blue Raiders (9-7, 4-1 Conference USA) have won four of their first five conference games, and currently sit in third place in the conference.

Their dynamic duo of Alex Johnson and Ty Petty have contributed for 54 percent of the Blue Raiders’ points. As a team, the Blue Raiders average 63.5 points per game, the 12th ranked scoring offense in Conference USA.

Johnson, who averages 18.3 points per game, and Petty, who averages 16.3 points per game, are both ranked in the top 10 in scoring in Conference USA.

The Blue Raiders are currently ninth in the conference shooting the ball at 42 percent, but they shoot the three ball at 36.4 percent, which is ranked second.

Defensively, the Blue Raiders give up 63.4 points per game, and are ranked in the bottom third of the conference in field goal percentage — 43.1 percent, ranked 13th — and three-point field goal percentage defense — 34.4 percent, ranked 12th.

This could be the break The Owls need offensively, a team that currently averages just 63.6 points per game, which is 11th in the conference.

The Owls also shoot 38.6 percent from the field — which is ranked 10th in Conference USA — as well as 30.4 percent from three — which is 12th in the conference.

FAU visits UAB on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 8 p.m., then will travel to play Middle Tennessee State on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m.

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