Florida Tech Earns Wire-to-Wire Victory Over Tampa 68-60
By Florida Tech // November 19, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Ready to prove that it is not a team to overlook in the Sunshine State Conference this season, Florida Tech opened conference play with an impressive showing at Tampa on Wednesday night.
The Panthers controlled the game from start to finish en route to a 68-60 victory over the Spartans at the Bob Martinez Athletics Center in Tampa, Florida.
Tampa’s only lead in the contest, at 6-4, came with just under four minutes into the contest. Less than 10 seconds later, the Panthers tied the game on a jumper by BreAnn Davis and never looked back.
For the second game in-a-row, Shequana Harris led all players with 18 points in the game. The redshirt-junior also tallied six rebounds, five assists, four steals and one block.
Julie McCarthy reached double-figures for the first time this season, recording a career-high 16 points to go along with nine rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass. The Norwegian also finished a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Coming up just short of hitting double-digits, Davis and Tiesha Flagler each scored nine points against the Spartans. Flagler also contributed four assists, two rebounds and one steal in the game.
“It’s not often that you steal one on the road in this place, we’ve had great teams and great battles,” said head coach John Reynolds.
“We knew how good they were coming into to this one. We knew we had to keep our turnovers down, we only had 10. We knew we had to out-rebound them because if you don’t outhustle the home team in this conference, you will not come out with the win. We also did well finishing on the inside.”
“Our players executed the game plan better than any of my teams the last four or five years,” Reynolds continued.
“I put a game plan in and they executed. We had a number of girls take big shots in this win. A key for us tonight was that every time Tampa tried to make a run, a different player on our end of the floor made a basket. I thought that balance really paid dividends tonight.”
FIT held a 16-9 advantage after the first quarter thanks to Harris’ five points in the period. The Spartans had the scoring edge in the second, 16-12, but FIT still took the lead into halftime 28-25.
At the break, the teams were even in the rebound department, both collecting 19 in the half, including 12 offensive rebounds by FIT.
The Panthers man-to-man defense caused UT fits, forcing the Spartans into 13 first half turnovers and 21 for the game, compared to just two by Reynolds’ squad.
The Panthers extended their advantage to as much as 10 points in the third quarter, and went into the final stanza up 48-41. UT fought its way back in the fourth quarter, trimming its deficit to 61-58 with 1:25 remaining in the game. FIT responded, though, and outscored the Spartans 7-2 to close out the Panthers’ SSC opening win.
For the Spartans, Elena de Alfredo led the way with 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists, while Juliana Cavallaro and Jenny Horvatinovic each contributed 10 points to their team’s result. Cavallaro, who many around the SSC believe could be the conference’s best player, was held to no points in the opening 20 minutes of the game. On the inside, Taylor McVey recorded eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks for the Spartans.
The Panthers attacked the Spartans’ defense throughout the contest, registering 39 shots in the first half, and 27 more in the second. As a team, the Panthers converted 37.9 percent of their attempts. FIT battled for every rebound as well, snagging four more than their opponent 37-33, including 18 on the offensive end that led to 15 second-chance points for the team.
The Panthers now return to the Clemente Center to prepare for their home opener against SSC provisional member Embry-Riddle at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday.
This will be the first ever matchup between FIT and ERAU.
Fans can access live coverage of Panther home games at FloridaTechSports.com/live.