Women’s Basketball: Owls fall 79-78 in overtime to UTEP

Aniya Hubbard earned her first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s defeat.

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Nicholas Windfelder

Aniya Hubbard takes her shot for two against PBA on Nov. 21, 2022.

Gianna Alberti, Staff Writer

FAU women’s basketball (11-7, 4-5 C-USA) fell 79-78 to the University of Texas at El Paso Miners (UTEP) (13-5, 6-3 C-USA) Saturday afternoon at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena.

“Disappointed to lose but that was one of those games you would just hate for anybody to lose,” said head coach Jennifer Sullivan. “There’s a lot of things that we could’ve cleaned up, not to be in that position, but it just came down to free throws.”

Despite a slow start, the Owls stayed in the game with UTEP’s fast paced tempo. Senior forward Sofia Galeron sank a three-pointer just under three minutes in the first quarter to continue the Owls’ momentum.

Closing out the first quarter, junior guard Joiya Maddox laid it in for two as time expired, cutting the Miners’ lead to  21-18

A quick two points by Hubbard shrank the Miners lead to one less than a minute into the second quarter. 

In a stronger second quarter, the Owls were able to take their first lead of the game. Maddox hit back-to-back threes to tie the score at 32 apiece. 

A block by Galeron, followed by a layup from junior guard Jada Moore with just six seconds left gave the Owls a 41-35 lead heading into halftime.

At halftime the Owls were shooting 41.9% from the field and 36.4% from three-point range, compared to the Miners’ 46.7%  and 45.5% respectively. Maddox led the Owls in scoring at halftime with 12 points and an assist.

The Miners stepped up the intensity in the second half, taking back the lead with 5:36 in the second quarter. Junior guard Devyn Scott drew a foul and made both free throws to take back the lead at 54-53.

After the lead went back and forth in the fourth quarter, Hubbard banked in a turnaround jump shot to put the Owls ahead by two with 1:19 in regulation. However, the Miners quickly tied the score at 69 sending the game to overtime.

FAU started overtime by scoring on back-to-back possessions to take a four-point lead, but UTEP rallied back. With 1:08 to play, Miners’ sophomore forward Elina Arike sank a pair of free throws putting them ahead by three. 

With 2.4 seconds left in overtime Maddox drew a foul from behind the three-point line, which left her the opportunity to tie the score with three free-throws. However, she was unable to tie the game after missing one of the three foul shots.

Despite their efforts late in the game, the Owls ultimately fell by one. 

Maddox finished the night as the Owls’ leading scorer with a career-high 26 points, two rebounds, and assists.

“Really proud of her. I think [Maddox’s] been training since North Texas. Joiya is a super talented player. She looks comfortable, her talk has been great, she’s finding ways to aggressively go score,” said Sullivan.

Hubbard also contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, and two assists, while Galeron and redshirt senior forward Janeta Rozentale both added 11 points. As a team, FAU shot 42.9% from the field and 31.8% from behind the arc, while out-rebounding the Miners 43-37. 

The Owls’ next game will be on the road against the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders (16-2, 9-0 C-USA) on Thursday, Jan. 26. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. 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]