BOCA RATON, Fla. – (Jan. 15, 2020) – The Florida Atlantic University women’s basketball team (8-7, 2-2 C-USA) will seek a 3-2 start in the Conference USA play, as they hit the road to face Middle Tennessee (10-6, 2-2 C-USA) tomorrow. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Eastern at the Murphy Center.
About the Owls:
The Owls have commenced C-USA play with a 2-2 start, while coming off an 84-78 double overtime win over North Texas last Saturday. Lotta Vehka-Aho was named C-USA Freshman of the Week after posting two 20+ point games in a row, while playing 90 straight minutes on the court. The Owls will play for their first win over the Lady Raiders in 11 years. FAU’s last win over Middle Tennessee took place on Feb. 21, 2009 in a 73-70 feat at home.
Through 10 weeks of play, Crystal Primm leads the Owls in scoring, averaging 14.0 points per game along with 6.6 boards per game and being tied for a team’s best 27 steals. Vehka-Aho follows with 12.9 points per game and leads the team in assists (49) and matches Primm with 27 steals. Juliette Gauthier is the leading rebounder (7.9 per game), while averaging 10.8 points per game. Head coach Jim Jabir is in his third season at the helm and is just two wins away from his 500th career feat.
Last Time Out:
FAU pulled off their fourth comeback victory (after trailing at halftime) of the season in an 84-78 double overtime win over North Texas on Saturday. The Owls trailed the Mean Green by as many as 15 points midway through the second quarter, but managed to stay within striking distance for the remainder of the contest after cutting UNT’s lead to six at the halfway mark. Primm knocked down 1-2 foul shots to send the game into overtime tied at 63. In overtime, UNT lead FAU by four with 18 seconds left, but a missed free throw and a turnover by the Mean Green gave the Owls the ball back to set up Vehka-Aho for the game-tying layup with one second left on the clock. FAU pulled away late in the second overtime period thanks to back-to-back field goals by Primm and two clutch free throws courtesy of Abby Voss.
Freshman Vehka-Aho followed up her career-high 28 point performance against Rice with another dominating act, leading the team with 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Three different Owls recorded a double-double in the game (Gauthier, Astou Gaye and Primm), marking the first time since Dec. 3, 2001 when the Owls faced off against Jacksonville State the program has had three Owls tally a double-double in a single game. Primm captured her fourth career double-double through putting up 20 points and 10 boards. Gaye recorded 13 points, as well as a career-high 13 rebounds and three blocks for her second double-double, while Gauthier came up with her fifth career double-double after putting up 15 points and 13 boards. The team logged a season-high 84 points, 58 rebounds and eight blocks on Saturday.
Scouting Middle Tennessee:
Middle Tennessee was picked to finish second in the 2019 C-USA Preseason Poll, while earning three first-place votes, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. Anastasia Hayes was chosen to the preseason team. The redshirt sophomore has been tearing it up in her first season in C-USA after transferring from Tennessee, where she was named SEC Sixth Woman of the Year as a freshman. Hayes is averaging 16.9 points per game (third in C-USA) along with 6.0 rebounds per game. She also has 76 assists on the year, which leads the league, and has been named C-USA Player of the Week twice this season.
Freshman Aislynn Hayes follows her sister, averaging 13.0 points per game in addition to 47 assists. The rookie Hayes has been recognized as the C-USA Freshman of the Week three times, leading the conference. Taylor Sutton and Charity Savage also average double digits in scoring with 12.9 and 10.6 points per game, a piece. Savage is the conference’s leading rebounder, pulling down 11.2 per game, which is eighth in the NCAA, and she was acknowledged as the C-USA Player of the Week on Dec. 30.
History Against the Lady Raiders:
FAU trails MT 1-24 in a series that stretches back to 2004. The Owls’ only win over the Lady Raiders came on Feb. 21, 2009 in a 73-70 win in Boca Raton. Middle Tennessee has won the last 18 meetings and have never lost at home to the Owls. Last season, the Owls faced the Blue Raiders twice. In the first meeting at home, MT won 74-55. Gauthier tallied 12 points and six boards. In the second matchup, FAU traveled the MT to fall, 74-48. Gauthier led all scorers with 21 points, falling short of a double-double with nine boards.
The Owls will finish out the roadstand at UAB on Saturday with tipoff set for 3 p.m. Eastern. FAU will return to Abessinio Court at RoofClaim.com arena on Thursday, Jan. 23 to face Charlotte at 7 p.m. For tickets, call 1-866-FAU-OWLS or visit fausports.com.
– FAUSports.com –
Florida Atlantic University Athletics:
FAU Athletics is comprised of 21 intercollegiate teams involving 450 student-athletes that compete in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track, volleyball, beach volleyball, cheer and dance. The Owls are a NCAA Division I-A (FBS) institution and compete in Conference USA and the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) (beach volleyball, men’s swimming). The Owls have been playing football since 2001 and are a perfect 4-0 in bowl games, the most recent being a 52-28 victory over SMU in the 2019 Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl. The dance team finished its 2014 season No. 8, nationally. FAU cheer won a national championship in 2016.
About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.