Women’s basketball preview: FAU heads to Texas for its last road trip of the season

The Owls have not finished a season winless on the road since the 2006-07 season.


Junior Melinda Myers makes a team-high 37.1 percent of her three-point shots. Alexander Rodriguez | Contributing Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic women’s basketball is set to take its last road trip of the season when it visits the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Texas at San Antonio, hoping to avoid going winless on the road for the season.

The only time the Owls (4-21, 0-14 Conference USA) have failed to win a road game was the 2006-07 season, when they went 0-13.

The Owls are also one loss away from missing a conference tournament for the first time under head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay, and for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Last week, the Owls lost both home games by an average of 19.5 points, falling to Louisiana Tech University and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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

UTEP Miners:

The Miners (6-20, 3-11 Conference USA) are currently 12th in the conference standings, and although defeating FAU will not guarantee a tournament spot yet, they can be the ones to eliminate the Owls from postseason contention.

UTEP, however, has lost six straight games and seven of its last eight. All five wins have been at home, and its lone away victory was at FAU.

During the course of their losing streak, the Miners are giving up 74.6 points per game, which ranks second to last in Conference USA during the stretch, trailing only FAU. The Owls are giving up 81.3 points per game over their last six games.

Despite having the conference’s fourth best leading scorer, UTEP’s offense over the season has struggled to score. The team’s 64.2 points per game ranks 11th in the conference.

Senior Sparkle Taylor is the only Miner to average double-digit points for the season, putting up 17.7 per game. The next closest on the squad is junior Tamara Seda’s nine points per contest.

One of the reasons the Owls are still winless on the road this season has been their defense. FAU is allowing 78.1 points per game on the road in conference play this season, and in order to keep its conference tournament dream alive, it will have to contain Taylor and the Miners’ offense.

UTSA Roadrunners:

After starting out conference play 5-1, UTSA (11-14, 7-7 Conference USA) has lost four consecutive games, and six of its last eight. The Roadrunners are now ninth in the standings, but still have a chance to secure a top four seed and a first-round bye in the tournament.

During the losing streak, UTSA’s defense has not played its best. The Roadrunners allowed 68.1 points and 42 percent shooting from the field over their last four.

Behind their two leading scorers, junior Loryn Goodwin and senior Tesha Smith, the Roadrunners are averaging 69 points per game over the season, which is ranked seventh in the conference. Goodwin leads the team with 17.4 points per game, and Smith follows close netting 15 points per game.

When UTSA and FAU faced off back on Jan. 12, Goodwin had an off-night and finished 1-for-10 from the field with seven points. However, Smith and junior Crystal Chidomere combined for 45 points on 64 percent shooting.

The Owls will need to find a way to slow the Miners’ offense, something they have not been able to do this season. The Owls are second to last in the conference, giving up 74 points per game.

FAU will travel to play UTEP on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 9:05 p.m. and UTSA on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3:00 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_.