Women’s Basketball: Owls fall to Western Kentucky 66-65

Despite shooting more efficiently and out rebounding the Hilltoppers, FAU wasn’t able to hold on to their first half lead.


Nicholas Windfelder

Ajalon Gillard makes way to the center to work on FAU’s next play in the second quarter.

Gianna Alberti, Staff Writer

FAU women’s basketball (11-9, 4-7 C-USA) picked up their third consecutive loss in a 66-65 defeat to the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers (WKU) (11-9, 8-3 C-USA) Saturday afternoon.

Saturday was the continuation of a rough month for the Owls, as the loss moves their record in January to 2-7.

“Disappointing outcome, but I’m extremely proud of our effort on the defensive end,” said head coach Jennifer Sullivan. “This team has shown they can compete with the best in this league and there is a lot of ball left to be played.”

Junior guard Joiya Maddox allowed the Owls to take an early 2-0 lead with two quick points. Although Western Kentucky jumped out to an early 10-point lead, the Owls were able to keep their momentum and take the lead back before the end of the first quarter.

The Owls went on a 13-point scoring run in the last three minutes, which left them with an 18-15 lead heading into the second quarter.

Despite conceding 11 turnovers in the first half, FAU put together a strong defensive effort in the first half allowing them to hold a three-point lead at halftime.

“Turnovers and fouls have been our achilles heel,” said Sullivan. “I believe when we improve in these areas we will consistently be on the winning side of games like today.”

Heading into halftime, the Owls led 31-28, shooting 38.5% from the field and 25% from three-point range, while holding the Hilltoppers’ to just 23.3% from the field and 13.6% from beyond the arc. 

Freshman guard Aniya Hubbard led the Owls in scoring at halftime with nine points, five rebounds, and one assist.

Despite FAU keeping the same pace throughout the third quarter, the Hilltoppers retook the lead as the quarter came to a close. Sophomore forward Jaylin Foster made a pair of free throws with 21 seconds on the clock, which left WKU with a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

The lead went back-and-forth throughout the fourth quarter, however, a three-pointer with 1:28 in the fourth quarter put the Hilltoppers ahead by one.

With 40 seconds left in regulation, graduate forward Amber Gaston had the chance to tie the game with a pair of free-throws, but missed her second attempt. Hubbard grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball up the court with just seven seconds left. 

With a chance to win the game at the buzzer, junior guard Jada Moore put up a jumper, but the attempt was no good, sealing the Owls’ third consecutive defeat.

FAU shot 40% from the field and 55.6% from behind the arc, and out-rebounded the Hilltoppers 51-35. Moore led the team with 17 points, which matches her season-high, along with nine rebounds and an assist. Meanwhile, Hubbard chipped in with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists.

The Owls’ will now return home to take on the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers (UAB) (10-10, 2-9 C-USA) on Thursday, Feb 2. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena 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].