Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Women’s Basketball: The Highs and Lows of the 2023-2024 season

A season riddled with injuries results in another sub .500 season for the program. Although starting AAC play 0-7, the Owls wrapped up the rest of conference play going 6-5, bringing momentum and healthy players with them to play in their first AAC tournament.
FAU Athletics
FAU’s 2023-2024 WBB Roster after a 56-47 win against Charlotte on Senior Day, Mar. 3.

Regular season play is up for Florida Atlantic’s women’s basketball team (11-18, 6-12 AAC) as they’re set to embark on their first American Athletic Conference (AAC) tournament on Saturday against Wichita State University (9-21, 5-13 AAC) in Fort Worth, Texas. It will mark the third matchup between the teams this season, each having one win under their belts.

FAU fell short in final regular season game 74-53, against Temple University (19-11, 13-5 AAC). After the win, Temple is now in a three-way tie for first in the conference. 

With 3:09 left in the first quarter, the score was 10-9. Neither team started quick on offense, but Temple was able to find their groove and put up 11 points in the last three minutes of the quarter. 

Turnovers proved to be the difference in the game. FAU had 28 in total, giving Temple 23 points off turnovers. This has been a consistent problem for FAU during the season, where in many games, they’ve struggled with maintaining the ball in their hands.

Alexa Zaph dribbles to the basket in FAU’s 74-53 loss to Temple University. (FAU Athletics)

“Just disappointed. I thought that we had opportunities to cut it within eight, but we started off the game and couldn’t take care of the basketball,” head coach Jennifer Sullivan said. “They were really physical, especially on the perimeter and tried their best to take away our point guard.”

Going into the fourth quarter, Temple was up by 15. A three by Janeta Rozentale cut their lead to within ten, but Temple stayed relentless. They continued to pressure on defense, forcing FAU to turnover the ball and giving themselves the edge offensively, which ultimately led to their 74-53 win. 

The star of the night was FAU’s leading scorer, Aniya Hubbard. She had 12 points while playing 21 minutes. 

During the first game of the season against Mercer University Bears, Hubbard tied her career high with 28 points. While the Owls fell short by eight, hopes were high for them as they embarked on their journey for the season. FAU showed their strength and had a player who seemed that she would lead the team to victory. 

On the AAC Media Day, Sullivan said that Hubbard was a phenomenal player on offense and defense. “She’ll make an impact right away and we’re excited about having her.”

The pressure was on for Hubbard to live up to her Conference-USA freshman of the year title, but she only played five more games, going 3-3. From the end of Nov. through the start of Jan. she was absent from the team.

Hubbard wasn’t seen on the bench or participating with teams during warmups, launching an investigation to be done by the University Press. Her status was labeled “an internal team matter,” and no comments were made from the athletics department. 

Now, the Owls were short a key player, but they proved themselves by going on the road and winning against an undefeated University of Central Florida team on Dec. 18, 59-58. It was their first Power Five win in over two decades. 

“I’m proud of our kids. [They] navigated through the non-conference season back in Dec. and late Nov.,” said Sullivan.

When AAC play started a few weeks later, the tides quickly changed for the Owls. 

In their first conference game, they fell short to the University of Alabama Blazers, 65-53. Two of their leading scorers, Hubbard and Mya Perry, were out with injuries. FAU proceeded to drop the next six games after the loss and struggled to maintain a healthy team. 

Jada Moore sporting a face mask to protect her nose in FAU’s 81-72 loss to Tulsa. (Erika Fletcher)

Injuries have been a key part of FAU’s struggles this year. Many different players have missed at least one game due to an injury. Jada Moore had a broken nose for most of the season and wasn’t confirmed to play in the final regular season game until hours before.

“It brings a challenge to the coaching staff. We can’t control a lot of different things, but we’ve got to put players on the floor to be successful,” Sullivan said. “Our kids show up every day to practice, and because of the situation with injuries, a lot of kids stepped up.”

FAU’s first matchup with Wichita on Jan. 27 marked their first AAC win, ending their eight-game losing streak and fueling momentum for the Owls in the season’s final weeks. They were able to go 5-5 in AAC play after the win, turning around what seemed to be a lost year. 

“Dealing with injuries and shifts throughout the year, but now our team is healthy at the right time. I think we’re in a really good spot in the tournament, and our entire teams are together. Putting together a lot of wins down the stretch and competing at a high level,” Sullivan said. 

Aside from challenges with injuries and turnovers, the Owls earned some memorable statistics this season. 

In her final year, Rose Caverly collected her 500th career rebound, which set her up to join the 1,000-point and 500-rebound club. Moore dropped her 500th career point on Feb. 14, and fellow senior Alexa Zaph had two free throws against the University of San Antonio to gain her 1,000th career point. She now ranks 10th in scoring in the program’s history. 

The team gained their 500th program win after defeating Rice University on Feb. 3. 

During the preseason, the Owls were projected to be last in the conference, but they proved the predictions wrong. Going into the AAC tournament, they will be a 12 seed and playing with full strength. 

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About the Contributors
Megan Bruinsma
Megan Bruinsma, Sports Editor
Megan is a junior majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in sports studies. She has grown up with a passion for watching and playing sports. She’s excited to continue her journey of learning how to cover sports in a professional sense. Megan has hopes to become a sports reporter for an NFL or NBA team.
Erika Fletcher
Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a senior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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