ODU Women Cruise claim 73-61 win over FIU

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NORFOLK, Va. (Released via ODU Athletics) – After essentially playing a WNBA-type schedule for most of the past month, the Old Dominion women’s basketball team is surely exhausted.

Monday night, the Monarchs took to the field for the 10th game in 25 days, and the third in the last five days, but had enough gas in their tank to outlast FIU, 73-61, at Chartway Arena.

With eight Conference USA games to play, Monday’s game was likely a must win for ODU (17-5, 7-3 C-USA) if the Monarchs are to finish among the top two teams in the East Division.

This would guarantee them a bye to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

ODU has the most wins among the league’s 16 teams but is fourth in the East Division behind Charlotte (12-7, 8-1), Middle Tennessee (16-4, 8-2) and Western Kentucky (15-7 , 8-3).

It was also the third game in five days for FIU (11-10, 3-7), who are averaging nearly 74 points per game but shooting poorly, largely due to ODU’s defense.

After a disappointing 71-57 loss at Western Kentucky last weekend, the Monarchs overcame foul issues (four players finished with four fouls) and outshot, overshot and overshot the high-octane Panthers.

CRF only made 20 of 55 shots (36.4%) and only three of 12 three-point shots (25%).

ODU, meanwhile, made 28 of 62 shots (45.2%) and 5 of 11 three-pointers (45.5%). The Monarchs rebounded from FIU, 41-36, had 15 assists to FIU’s seven and blocked eight shots.

“We are very happy with this victory and the way we played,” coach DeLisha Milton-Jones noted. “We redeemed ourselves from the loss at Western Kentucky.

“I was so happy to see us come out and play a rhythmic style. FIU forces you to do it because they run and press, but we played really well during the break.

“Yes, we just suffered a big loss, but we are starting to gel. This team is still trying to impose itself because it is such a young team.

“Tonight we played really well.”

Ajah Wayne and Amari Young each scored 15 points for ODU while Iggy Allen added 14. Young added nine rebounds and two assists.

ODU’s schedule has been compressed after a 22-day layoff in late December and early January due to COVID which forced the postponement of several games.

And there is no rest for the weary. ODU hosts Middle Tennessee on Thursday, likely another game up for grabs, before heading to UAB on Super Bowl Sunday.

Milton-Jones said with eight games remaining, she’s not looking at the league standings.

“I don’t pay attention to the rankings yet,” she said. “When it’s time to take a look, I will.

“If I’m worried about what Middle Tennessee is doing, what Charlotte is doing, I’m taking valuable attention away from our team.”

ODU took a 7-0 lead three minutes after a sloppy first quarter. FIU scored eight points in a row to lead for the first and only time, 8-7.

ODU then took the lead for good with 1:36 to go, 12-10, on a layup of Ashanti Barnes-Williams. Allen made two 3-pointers in the final 36 seconds, and the Monarchs led 18-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The pace picked up for both teams in the second quarter and the fastbreak favored the Monarchs, who made seven of 15 shots, outshot FIU 14-7 and took a 15-point lead before Young put ODU up front, 35-21. , to end the first half with a jump shot two seconds from the end.

FIU warmed up in the final minutes, making two three-pointers and a layup on three straight possessions to cut what had been a 17-point lead to nine with 1:44 to go, but didn’t more marked.

Milton-Jones said ODU’s coaching staff kept players cool with hot and cold baths and massages.

“Coach always tells us it’s not going to be an easy season,” Allen said. “We know we have a target on our back.”

Young added: “Coach told us not to think about our fatigue. Many other teams are going through the same thing.

“And no one in the conferences cares about our fatigue.”

Game Notes
The Monarchs tied last season’s conference win total with seven, doing so in six fewer games.

ODU’s 73 points on Monday are fourth most this season. Monarchs are 6-0 this season and 12-5 under head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones by reaching 70 points in a game.

The Monarchs posted their third-highest shooting percentage (.452) and second-highest 3-point shooting percentage (.455) this season.

FIU (23 turnovers) became the 11th opponent to commit more than 20 turnovers against the Monarchs this season. ODU had nine interceptions on Monday – three from Mariah Adams and two of Amari Young.

Ajah Wayne and Amari Young shared the game with 15 points. Wayne had six rebounds, two assists and two blocks and now has 1,230 career points. Young fell to a board of a double-double, was 7 of 13 from the field and delivered two assists. She now has 1,083 career points.

Amhyia Moreland set career highs with 12 minutes played, six rebounds and three blocks. She tied her personal best with four points.

ODU is 8-2 at home this season and 14-8 (.636) under Milton-Jones.

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