Women’s basketball preview: FAU to host Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss, seeking conference tournament push

The Owls are three games back of the 12th and final tournament spot.


The Owls have allowed 74.3 points per game this season, the second most in the conference. Alexander Rodriguez | Contributing Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic women’s basketball is set to host Louisiana Tech University and the University of Southern Mississippi, with time running out to get the 12th and final conference tournament spot.

Despite their program record-setting 13-game losing streak, the Owls (4-19, 0-12 Conference USA) are only three games out of a the final tournament spot. Only 12 out of the 14 teams in Conference USA will make the tournament.

Last week’s Texas trip did not go well for FAU, which lost to both the University of North Texas and Rice University by an average margin of 28 points.

Any push for that final conference spot needs to start this week as only six games remain in the season.

Here’s what you need to know about the Owls opponents:

Louisiana Tech:

Louisiana Tech (13-11, 8-5 Conference USA) has won three straight games and six of its last eight, after a 2-3 start to conference play.

The Bulldogs are the sixth best scoring team in the conference, averaging 69 points per game. They are also the second best team in Conference USA shooting the ball, making 44 percent of their shot attempts.

Despite its shooting numbers, Louisiana Tech is mostly a two-point field goal shooting team. It has taken 98 and made 315, the fewest amount of three-point field goals in the conference.

The Bulldogs are very well balanced offensively, with three players averaging 10 points or more per game. Sophomore Kierra Anthony leads the pack with 13.3 points per game.

Sophomore Jasmine LeBlanc and junior Alexus Malone follow with 12.8 and 11 points per game respectively.

Defensively, the Bulldogs are one of the best teams in the conference in shooting defense, ranking first in field goal percentage defense and fourth in three-point field goal defense. They only allow 37.6 percent shooting from the field and 29.4 percent from deep.

Despite those shooting defense numbers, opponents are averaging 64.5 points per game in the conference, which is seventh.

Because of the Bulldogs strong perimeter defense, FAU will have to find other ways to create scoring opportunities. The Owls will need to get to the free-throw line and crash the offensive boards.

The Owls are seventh in the conference in offensive rebounds pulling down 13.2 per game. It won’t be an easy task against one of the best rebounding team in the conference, as Louisiana Tech’s 40 rebounds per game is fourth best.

Getting to the free-throw line has not been one of FAU‘s strongest attributes, as its 221 makes and 335 attempts are both ranked last in the conference. The team’s 66 percent conversion rate is ranked 11th.

Southern Miss:

Southern Miss (16-9, 8-5 Conference USA) — winners of five of its last six games — is currently feeding off the hot hand of conference USA’s third leading scorer.

Brittanny Dinkins is averaging 24.5 points over the Lady Eagles last six games, bringing her season average to 18.4 points per game. The senior also leads her team in assists, steals and field goal percentage.

The Lady Eagles are the fourth best scoring team in Conference USA, averaging a little over 70 points per game. They have also taken the second most field goals in the conference and are making them at a 44 percent clip — which is fourth best.

Defensively, the Lady Eagles have been just as good, holding opponents to 63.6 points per game, fourth best in the conference.  

However, they are allowing 44 percent shooting, which is second worst in the conference, and 32.8 percent shooting from three-point land, which is ranked 10th.

FAU will have to try and limit Dinkins and her scoring opportunities, which may be a problem for the Owls. Her 48.9 percent shooting from the field is the best in conference USA among players that average at least eight shot attempts per game.

The Owls will have to also limit their turnovers, which they have done a great job of this season. Their 13.7 giveaways per game is second best in the conference.

However, the Lady Eagles force 22 turnovers per game, which is a conference best.

FAU will host Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. and will host Southern Miss on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 5 p.m. Both games will be played at FAU Arena.

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_.