Florida Tech Panther Women’s Sports Roundup
By Florida Tech // March 6, 2014
Panthers Open SSC Championships with Victory
The No. 6 seed Florida Tech Panthers closed out the first day of the Sunshine State Conference Basketball Championships Wednesday night, as they took on No. 5 seed Barry.
The Bucs won both games between the two teams during the regular season, but that did not matter tonight as the Panthers kept their season going with a 74-57 victory.
“Survive and advance, that is the mentality,” said head coach John Reynolds.
“The thing that impressed me was they played to win, and never thought about losing the game. We got a good lead, and every time Barry made a run in the first half, we answered it with a different player.”
The Panthers (17-12) came out of the gates on a roll taking an early 15-0 lead. Junior Kayk Wilson, the SSC’s leading scorer had eight points in the early run, and the squad held a double-digit lead for the first 10 minutes of the game.
Barry’s offense got going, and cut its deficit to as little as six with less than 10 minutes to play in the first half. The Panthers answered the Bucs’ run with one of their own, and took a 42-27 lead at halftime.
Wilson came into Wednesday night’s game averaging 20.1 points per contest this season. She nearly matched that with 19 in the first half for the Panthers. Junior Jasmire Brown was also in double-figures at halftime with 12 points.
The Panthers pushed their lead in the second half to 21 points with fewer than 16 minutes to play. The Bucs tried to rally, but the Panthers were able to answer every Barry attempt, and did not allow their lead to be threatened. When the final buzzer sounded, the Panthers earned the 74-57 win.
Wilson led all scorers in the game with 28 points. Brown scored 14 points, and sophomore Diamond Cooper scored 10 points to go with eight rebounds.
“I thought that Jasmire coming off the bench was solid, and we got good minutes from both Diamond and Kaila Callender,” Reynolds said. “We played 10 players in the first half, so we used our bench really well today.”
As a team, the Panthers shot 42.3 percent for the game. They were 8-of-18 from three-point range, and 6-of-10 from the foul line.
Tyler Hardy led the Bucs with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Barry (16-11) shot 38.9 percent for the game. They were 3-of-19 from three-point range, and 12-of-16 from the foul line.
The Panthers now advance to the quarterfinal round Friday night when they face the Lions of Saint Leo. The No. 4 seed Lions defeated No. 7 seed Lynn earlier in the day. The Panthers won both regular season matchups against the Lions.
Tip-off Friday night is set for 7:30 p.m. ET inside Silver Spurs Arena. You can follow the action live at FloridaTechSports.com. The winner Friday night between the Panthers and Lions will advance to face No. 1 seed Tampa in the semifinal round.
“We started off today 0-0, and Saint Leo started off today 0-0,” Reynolds said. “This is the second season within a season, and we have our work cut out for us all over again.”
No. 18 Women’s Tennis Slows Down No. 45 Chestnut Hill
No. 18 Florida Tech women’s tennis (3-7) put a dominating end to a five-game losing streak, slowing down the surging Griffins en route to a 7-2 victory over No. 45 Chestnut Hill College (13-5) on Wednesday afternoon at the DeSoto Tennis Courts.
The win is FIT’s second victory against a nationally-ranked opponent and eighth match against a top-50 program.
“The women did a great job of moving their opponents side to side in all six singles matches,” said head coach Bill Macom.
“They made a lot of smart shot selections. They started down 2-1 after the doubles and could have easily let that bother them. Fortunately, that was not the case and they were able to stay positive and focused.”
The Panthers started off slow, taking just one doubles match after No. 19 Kristina Huba and Natasa Vukovic improved to 9-3 on the season with an 8-2 win over No. 7 (East Region) Charlotte Dawson and Marie Deleval.
Chestnut Hill has three singles players ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s East Region, No. 7 Dawson, No. 14 Iman Williams-Mulesa and No. 17 Deleval.
With the tough task ahead, the Panthers showed just how strong their singles players can be, coming out victorious in the top three singles flights, highlighted by Chloe Chanley’s first singles win of the spring in singles No. 3 over Deleval, 6-3, 6-3.
Vukovic kicked off singles play with a sensational 6-3, 6-2 win over Williams-Mulesa in flight No. 2, and No. 12 Huba downed Dawson in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1 in the top singles flight.
Meritt Rabson squeaked past her opponent in singles No. 4, 7-5, 6-4 to clinch the win for FIT.
Jessica Widmark ended her 13-match skid with a straight set win in singles No. 5, and Greta Polo defeated Axe Owens in singles No. 6 for her third singles win of the season and first of the spring. Polo competed in singles action for the first time since the end of 2013.
The women host Susquehanna University (5-2) on Thursday, March 6 at 12 p.m. at the Florida Tech Tennis Courts in Melbourne.