Women’s Basketball: Owls lose to FIU 72-56 in their final regular season game

The team lost 11 straight games to end the regular season.

University+Press+stock+photo+of+sophomore+guard+Alexa+Zaph.

Eston Parker III

University Press stock photo of sophomore guard Alexa Zaph.

Gianna Alberti, Staff Writer

The FAU Owls (5-24,1-17 C-USA) fell 72-56 in their final game of the regular season against their in-state rivals, the Florida International University (FIU) Panthers (14-15, 6-12 C-USA).

The Owls struggled offensively to begin the first quarter. However, they continued to be aggressive, obtaining second chances with rebounds. 

Within the last three minutes of the quarter, FAU cut the lead down as redshirt senior guard Rita Pleskevich drilled a three at the buzzer to bring the score to 22-16 in favor of the Panthers.

The Owls had a stronger second quarter, protecting the basketball and limiting their turnovers to just two. While FAU forced difficult shots for FIU, the Panthers never let go of their lead. With seconds left before halftime, junior guard Nikola Ozola drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to keep the game tight, 35-31.

Going into halftime, the Owls shot 42% from field-goal range. as Pleskevich had eight points and senior forward Amber Gaston made six points.

A dominant third quarter for the Panthers extended their lead to 15, as the Owls struggled to stay in the game. FIU attacked the basket with each possession they had and defensively shut down the Owls. FAU scored just nine points in the quarter.

The Panthers slowed the tempo down in the fourth quarter. FIU’s freshman guard Tanajah Hayes had a career game with 18 points, 12 of which came from her personal all-time high of most three-pointers. Behind her was senior forward Kyla Nelson, who dominated on offense with 15 points to help the Panthers come out with a win.

Sophomore guard Alexa Zaph led the Owls with 14 points while Pleskevich and Gaston each had 10 points. FAU shot just 38.2% from field-goal range and 25% from behind the arc.

FAU will travel to Frisco, Tex. to compete in the C-USA Tournament, which begins Tuesday, March 8, and will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

Gianna Alberti is a staff writer at the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email her at [email protected]