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Fla. Atlantic Gains 1st-Ever NCAA Berth

March 11, 2006

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) _ Shontavia Williams scored 26 points to lead Florida Atlantic to a 74-63 victory Saturday over Gardner-Webb in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament championship game.

The win gave the Owls (20-10) their first trip to the NCAA tournament.

Williams dominated the game from inside and out, sinking four 3-pointers and pulling down eight rebounds, several of which led to second-chance points.

Williams scored nine consecutive points during a four-minute stretch early in the second half to help the Owls build their largest lead of the game at 51-36.

Gardner-Webb (14-16) made a late run behind Shameka Smith, who finished with 19 points, but the Bulldogs would get no closer than six points at 59-53 with 5:47 left on a 3-point play by Smith.

The second-seeded Owls built as much as a 10-point lead in the first half.

They trailed 17-16 in the first half before Williams scored seven of the next 10 points and helped the Owls take a 32-22 lead before the Bulldogs cut the Owls’ lead to 34-28 at halftime.

Amanda Bulin added 12 points and Missy Glaser 11 for the Owls. Brittany Harmon had 13 for the Bulldogs.

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