Owls nest in Trojan Arena

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

Troy State (15-10, 10-4) had plenty of chances to win Thursday night's game against Florida Atlantic (12-12, 10-3), went more than 2:30 without scoring in the final minutes and took the loss, 72-65.

By the time the Lady Trojans found the basket again, the game was out of reach. Florida Atlantic hit all of its free throws down the stretch. The Lady Owls shot 95.5 percent from the free throw line, shooting 21-of-22.

"They kicked our [tails]; there's no other way to put it," Troy State head coach Michael Murphy. "They came in here with a sense of urgency and did what they had to do to win."

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The Trojans took a 57-56 lead with 3:38 to play in the game on a Thea Herring lay-up.

The next time the Lady Trojans scored, a Chaquita Alexander jumper with only 38 seconds remaining, the Lady Owls had scored eight consecutive points.

"I am a shooter and I felt like I could have made some shots at the end," Troy Stat's leading scorer Constance Kelly said. "Don't get me wrong, we're a team, but if one option's not working, you have to give me a chance."

Kelly finished with 16 points on four-of-five three-point shooting. She was only one-of-eight from two-point range.

The option that did not work was the Trojans' effort to get the ball to Alexander. The Owls denied her the ball in the closing minutes and contained her throughout the game.

"We played Kelly 24 minutes and Alexander 28," Murphy said. "We played (Kelly) as much as we could, but that wasn't the problem. How many lay-ups did we miss? How many turnovers did we have."

The Trojans missed several lay-ups and committed 19 turnovers.

Thursday's loss was similar to the loss earlier in the season. Shontavia Williams led Florida Atlantic with 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half. In the first meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., Williams scored all 16 of her points in the second half.

"She got us again," Murphy said. "I know she got a lot late (at the free throw line), but we still couldn't stop her."

Williams may receive some heat form her team, however, as she was the only Owl to miss a free throw. She hit eight-of-nine.

Tamica Pierce scored 16 for the Lady Owls and Trineca McCleod scored 10.

Alexander and Kerri Fiehrer scored 14 for the Lady Trojans and Herring scored 12.

Troy State had a chance to control its own destiny concerning a conference regular-season championship, but let that slip away. Troy State is now in third place in the A-Sun South and lost both games to Florida Atlantic. Central Florida defeated Mercer Thursday night and is now one-and-a-half games ahead of Troy State.