LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Feb. 15, 2012) - The FIU women's basketball team put together a strong second-half comeback at The Jack Stephens Center on Wednesday night, but it was not enough, as UALR came away with a 63-58 win.
With the loss, FIU falls to 17-9 (7-6 SBC) while UALR improves to 14-12 (9-4 SBC).
Sophomore Jerica Coley led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-21 shooting from the floor, including a 3-of-9 performance from three-point land, and 5-of-6 shooting from the free throw line. Coley has now reached double-figures in scoring in each of FIU's 26 games and the 20-point performance marks her 18th such outing of the campaign. The point guard also contributed six rebounds, one block and a career-high-tying six steals in a full 40 minutes against the Trojans.
Chipping in with 19 points was junior Finda Mansare, as she converted 8-of-16 from the field and was 3-of-4 from the charity stripe on the night. Mansare notched a squad-best two assists, one block and one rebound in 35 minutes of action.
Redshirt senior Fanni Hutlassa posted a team-high eight rebounds while dishing out a squad-best four assists. Hutlassa also registered eight points and one steal in 37 minutes of play.
As a team, FIU shot 42.0 percent (21-of-50) for the contest while UALR went 26-of-51 (51.0 percent) from the floor, marking just the third time this season that a Panther opponent has converted 50 percent or more of its field goal attempts. The Trojans out-rebounded the Panthers, 37-25, and also won the steals (10-9) and blocking (4-3) battles.
UALR took a 14-10 lead in the opening stanza before the Trojans went on a run to take their largest lead of the contest at 34-17 with 3:21 remaining in the first half. A jumper from Coley made it 34-19 and a Trojan foul shot would then send UALR into the halftime break with a 35-19 advantage.
In the second half, the Panthers went on a run of their own, cutting the Trojans' lead to three at 47-44 on a layup by Mansare with 8:22 left to play. The squads battled back and forth with UALR jumping ahead by 12 at the 2:50 mark, before Coley scored eight-straight points to bring FIU to within four at 62-58. However, the rally was too late, as the Trojans tacked on a made free throw in the final seconds of the contest to come away with the 63-58 victory.
FIU will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 18, when the Panthers close out their regular season road slate at Arkansas State. Tipoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET.
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 17 different sports, and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference and an affiliate member of Conference USA (men's soccer). Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.
About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelors, masters and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls 46,000 students in two campus and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and has 400 student-athletes participating in 17 sports. In 2010 the Panthers won their first bowl game. For more information about FIU, visit www.fiu.edu.
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