Women’s basketball: First round defeat to UTSA in C-USA Tourney ends Owls’ season

FAU fell in the final seconds of their first round matchup with the UTSA Roadrunners, ending their second consecutive last place finish in the conference.


Nicholas Windfelder

Joiya Maddox looks for her opportunity to pass the ball in to her team mates against PBA on Nov. 21, 2022.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

FAU women’s basketball (12-18, 5-15 C-USA) had their season come to an end on Wednesday afternoon after falling to the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners (UTSA) (12-18, 9-11 C-USA) in the first round of the Conference USA Championship Tournament.

In accordance with the recurring theme of their season, the Owls were in contention throughout the game, and even led with just seconds remaining in regulation, but ultimately couldn’t finish down the stretch.

“We never gave up and found a way to take the lead,” said head coach Jennifer Sullivan. “One or two stops finish our way, and we advance.”

From the opening tipoff at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas, the matchup was a back and forth affair. Though they traded blows all game, UTEP remained in control for a majority of the game, until redshirt senior forward Janeta Rozentale sank a layup, putting the Owls ahead 68-67 with 15 seconds in regulation. 

One final stop would have sealed their first victory in a C-USA Tournament game since the 2021 season and booked them a ticket to a quarterfinal matchup with Rice University. Unfortunately, that’s not how the story was written.

On the ensuing possession, Roadrunners’ freshman guard Sidney Love drove into the paint, drawing a foul before sinking the free throws to take back the lead with six seconds to play. 

Freshman guard Aniya Hubbard’s Hail Mary at the buzzer went unsuccessful to seal the season-ending loss for the Owls, a fitting end to their 2023 campaign. 

To start the season, FAU looked like a team reborn. 

Coming off of a disappointing 5-25 finish last season, the Owls got off to a hot start in this year’s campaign, notching eight wins in their first 10 games. As conference play began, however, what once looked like a brand new team, began to unravel.

Their C-USA schedule began with a pair of home victories over Florida International University and the University of North Texas. After that began a rough stretch of games for the Owls that never really ended, in which they lost seven of their next nine games—all of which were to C-USA foes.

Unable to recover from their struggles in conference play, the Owls finished the regular season 5-14 against C-USA opponents on an 8-game losing skid—their second straight last place finish in the C-USA standings.

In many ways, the first round loss on Wednesday served as a synopsis for the Owls’ entire season. What once appeared as a new and improved group just couldn’t get it done down the stretch. 

“We’ll hang onto this feeling as motivation for next year,” said Sullivan, who completed her third consecutive losing season with the defeat.

Now, once again, the Owls will head into the offseason with not much elsewhere to go but up.

Cameron Priester is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron