Women’s Basketball: Owls suffer close 60-56 loss to Middle Tennessee

Despite Sofia Galeron’s double-double, the Owls could not hold onto the lead.


Eston Parker III

Sofia Galeron looking towards the lane against Middle Tennessee on January 13, 2022. Galeron had a double-double against the Blue Raiders.

Eston Parker III, Lead Photographer

The FAU Owls’ (4-9, 0-2 C-USA) losing streak extended to four following Thursday night’s loss to the Middle Tennessee (MTSU) Blue Raiders (12-3, 4-1 CUSA) in what head coach Jennifer Sullivan later described as a “heartbreaker.” 

The Owls started the game in good shape as they secured a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to redshirt senior forward Sofia Galeron picking up five points, three assists, and FAU’s lone three-point shot. FAU also outrebounded MTSU in both offensive and defensive rebounds, highlighted by Galeron and junior guard Alexa Zaph securing three rebounds each.

The Blue Raiders gained momentum overall in the second quarter, outscoring the Owls by five and were more efficient from the field, shooting 46.7% compared to FAU’s 37.5%. The Owls, however, made up for a lackluster second-quarter performance by making three of four free throws while continuing to out rebound MTSU. 

The Owls held onto their lead into the half with a score of 25-24, but their control on the game was faltering.

Middle Tennessee controlled the pace of the third quarter and took the lead from the Owls early on. Their offensive momentum only elevated as MTSU outscored FAU 23-16 in the quarter as freshman guard Jaylnn Gregory led the way for the Blue Raiders with seven points.

Along with outscoring the Owls, Middle Tennessee also outrebounded and drained more three-pointers than the Owls. The Blue Raiders, towards the end of the quarter, also held their largest lead of the game, being up by eight over the Owls with just under three minutes remaining.

For the Owls, their lifeline came via the free-throw line as well as another three-point shot from Galeron. The Owls went 9-10 from the line as four players contributed towards an effective night overall from the free-throw line.

As the game entered into the fourth quarter, the Owls were only down six with a score of 47-41 but they needed to be more effective offensively to regain the lead.

Junior guard Kynadi Kuykendoll led the charge for the Owls in the fourth quarter, scoring the initial bucket nearly a minute into the quarter. By the halfway point in the quarter, FAU had tied the game at 49 points apiece thanks to a quality midrange jump shot from redshirt senior guard Rita Pleskevich. 

The two teams then matched each other shot for shot until redshirt junior forward Janeta Rozentale again tied the game 53-53 with just over two minutes remaining. 

Then, with 40 seconds remaining, senior forward Amber Gaston suffered a scary injury as she landed awkwardly while attempting to secure a loose ball. The game was stopped for a few minutes as Sullivan and the medical staff quickly rushed over to evaluate the health of their crucial player. Following a tense few minutes in the midst of a nearly silent arena, Gaston walked off the court with the help of the medical staff.

When asked about the injury after the game, Sullivan mentioned that, “the doctors will look at her and find out more,” and confirmed that Gaston sustained a head injury. It is not currently confirmed whether or not Gaston will miss upcoming games.

Gaston’s injury seemingly knocked the momentum away from the Owls, as Middle Tennessee’s senior guard Alexis Whittington made a three-point shot with sixteen seconds remaining. It was her only shot of the night.

Unfortunately for the Owls, they were unable to respond the following possession. Middle Tennessee eventually secured their twelfth victory of the season with a 60-56 scoreline.

The loss is the Owls’ sixth at home this season and their second consecutive loss in C-USA play. FAU will finish their three-game homestand against UAB on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

Eston Parker III is the Photo Editor for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @estonparker.