Women’s Basketball: Owls defeat rival FIU 67-63 on Senior night

Malia Kency led the team with 17 points


FAU senior forward Melinda Myers (50) defends against Mercer senior forward Alex Williams (22) on Nov. 12, 2017. Lauren Sopourn | Contributing Photographer

Matt Brown, Contributing Writer

After losing to them by 21 points just last week, Florida Atlantic women’s basketball got its revenge in a 67-63 win over Florida International on Senior night Sunday.

The Owls (11-13, 5-8 C-USA) won two games in a row after coming off of a season-long six game losing streak. This is the first time in over a month they’ve won two straight, with the last time coming against Louisiana Tech and UTSA from Jan.20-25 before they went on that losing streak.

The Panthers (7-19, 4-9 C-USA) lost their eighth of their past nine games, with that lone win coming against FAU last week on Feb. 17.

Both teams got off to a slow start in the first five minutes of the game. There was combined five made field goals out of 20 attempts from the floor and  FIU took an early 8-4 lead.

Junior guard Alexis Cowan scored the next four points of the game to tie it up at eight apiece with 3:39 to go in the first quarter.

The Owls eventually took a 15-10 lead at the end of the first quarter after junior guard Jamaria Williams drove from the top of the key to make a left-handed layup as time expired.

The Owls extended their lead to six, 18-12, within the first minute of the second quarter.

It was 18-14 with under eight minutes remaining in the half when within two minutes of each other, two Owls players went down due to injury. First, senior forward Melinda Myers with a back issue and then Cowan with a left knee injury.

That left the Owls with just seven players available for an extended period of time, due to senior guard Sasha Cedeno being out for the season due to a stress fracture in her right foot.

Myers eventually returned late in the third quarter, while Cowan did not return for the rest of the game.

“She is going to the emergency room right now,” said FAU women’s basketball head coach Jim Jabir of Cowan’s status.

The Panthers got to within three points, 20-17, with 7:15 left in the half after a three pointer by guard Cabria Lee.

They couldn’t make a field goal for the rest of the half going 0-for-9 from the field after that.

The Owls extended the lead to eight, 25-17, with over two minutes left in the first half before another player went down. This time it was redshirt junior guard Danneal Ford, who took a knee to the face fighting for a loose ball.

They eventually took a 29-21 lead into the break.

The Panthers started the second half on an 8-2 run to pull within two early.

They took a 36-34 lead, with under six minutes to go in the quarter after a three pointer and layup by forward TaMiracle Taylor and forward Callie Cavanaugh.

They extended that lead to five 39-34, as part of a 20-5 run, before the Owls went on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 46-41 lead with 30 seconds to play.

Guard Kiandre’a Pound hit a three pointer with five seconds left to pull the Panthers within one, 45-44, heading into the final quarter.

Lee hit two quick layups in the first 1:20 to give the Panthers a 48-45 lead to start the fourth quarter.

The Panthers took their largest lead of the game, 53-47, with a little over seven minutes to play.

The Owls went on an 9-1 run over the next four minutes to take a two-point lead with 3:15 left in the game.

Redshirt senior forward Raven Doyle made a contested layup to extend the lead to four, 58-54, with 2:30 to play.

The Panthers made it 59-58 with a minute left before the Owls extended the lead back to four, 62-58, with 32 seconds remaining.

They eventually squeaked out a 67-63 win, making 7-of-10 free throws over the final minute and a half to close out the win.

The Owls scored 19 second chance points, while the Panthers couldn’t score any.

They also outshot them from the free throw line, shooting 66.7 percent to FIU’s 60 percent. The Panthers were 6-of-10 overall while the Owls were 18-of-27, including 7-of-10 in the final minute and a half of the game.

“It’s huge,” said Jabir on the importance of the free throws down the stretch. “…We didn’t make all of them but we made enough.”

The Owls were led by Kency, who scored a team-high 17 points. She shot 6-of-18 overall and 3-of-5 from three. She also grabbed eight rebounds and had three assists.

“She played great,” said Jabir. “Down the stretch she played really well, she was very timely on some big-time shots.”

Ford filled the stat sheet with eight points, six rebounds, a steal, and a team high five assists.

Myers had a near double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds, scoring five of those points in the final four minutes of the game.

“She was gutsy because she was hurt,” said Jabir. “Her back was all stiffened up, and for her to rebound and make the critical foul shots was great.”

The Panthers were led by guard Kristian Hudson. She had the game high in points (19), assists (eight), and steals (three). She also grabbed six rebounds.

Pound contributed eight points and a team-high seven boards.

The Owls next game is at Marshall on Thursday March 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Matt Brown is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @mattyb407.