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Jerica Coley leads FIU to C-USA tournament semifinals with another upset victory

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Florida Intentional senior guard Jerica Coley has had one heck of a conference tournament thus far. Coley,who surpassed the 3,000 point plateau during the first round of the Conference USA Tournament, poured in 34 points to lead the 13th seeded Panthers over the fourth-seeded Tulane Green Wave 69-55 at Memorial Gym in El Paso, Texas on March 13.

The game was a back and forth affair that featured seven lead changes and one tie until 5:31 remaining. Trailing 58-55, Tulane’s Danielle Blagg missed a wide-open triple and the Panthers grabbed the rebound.

Coley took over from that point. The Panthers closed the game on a 11-0 run with Coley scoring 10 of those points.

Coley finished 13-of-24 from the field and was 8-of-11 from the charity stripe. She also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six dimes.

FIU knocked down 50 percent of their shots from the floor and dominated the boards, 46-33. Tulane (20-10) shot t 31.8 percent from the floor and was just 4-of-17 from three-point range (23.5 percent).

Tynia McKinzie (15 points) and Taylor Shade (13 points) joined Coley in double figures.

Tiffany Dale (17 points), Leslie Vorpahl (12 points) and Adesuwa Ebomwonyi (12 points) led the way for Tulane.

Coley has totaled 96 points in this year's C-USA Basketball Championship, second-most in a single tournament season. She is just four points shy of Conference USA tournament record set by Tulsa's Taleya Mayberry last season.

Coley tossed in 42 points as FIU defeated No. 5 East Carolina 87-75 in the second round of the conference tournament on March 12. Coley’s 42 points fell just one point short of Conference USA tournament record of 43. She was 12 of her 19 field goal attempts, including 4-of-5 from behind the arch, and connected on 14-of-16 free throws.

Coley, who is No. 5 on women’s basketball all-time scoring list, opened the conference tournament with 20 points to as FIU defeated No. 12 Rice 85-65 on March 11. She became the 10th player in women’s basketball history to surpass the 3,000 point plateau on a layup with 18:03 remaining in the second half of the game against the Owls.

FIU (15-17), the lowest seed to reach the semifinals in the C-USA Championships, will face top-seed and No. 22 Middle Tennessee State (27-4). MTSU defeated eighth-seeded UAB 69-59 on March 13, to reach the semifinals.



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