Florida Tech Panthers Close Out 2015 With CarMax Holiday Tournament In Basketball
By Florida Tech // December 19, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Almost three weeks have passed since the Panthers competed on their home floor, however the team makes its return to Melbourne this weekend to host the annual Florida Tech CarMax Holiday Tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
FIT welcomes Drury, Fort Valley State and Sunshine State Conference member Tampa for the four-team event, but will bypass the Spartans this time around as the teams will meet later this season on Jan. 27 at the Clemente Center.
The Panthers’ confidence is running high as the team rides the momentum of its current four-game winning streak, including three straight road victories over conference foes Eckerd (69-49) and Florida Southern (73-61), and Peach Belt Conference member Flagler (59-51).
John Reynolds’ squad has been impressive on defense during the streak, holding teams to just 58 points on 34 percent shooting, and outrebounding opponents by nearly 12 boards per night.
The Panthers had their best defensive performance of the season in the first half of the win over Flagler on Tuesday. FIT held the Saints to just 8.7 percent shooting and 14 points in the opening stanza. For the game, FC shot just 26.2 percent from the field and made only 5-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Offensively, Shequana Harris led three Panthers in double-figures in the game, scoring 14 points in addition to collecting four rebounds, three assists and three steals. The Bronx, New York native was also 6-for-6 from the line on the day, helping Florida Tech hold off a late rally by the Saints.
Tiesha Flagler recorded FIT’s first double-double of the season in the win, recording 13 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Coming off the bench in the game, Kailyn Ebb finished two rebounds shy of her own double-double, grabbing eight to go along with 11 points.
Florida Tech hopes to continue its impressive play as it faces Fort Valley State and Drury at the Clemente Center this weekend, a place where the Panthers boast just a 2-2 record on the season.
FVSU (1-8) enters the tournament on a four-game skid following a narrow 59-57 defeat to Georgia Southwestern on Monday, a contest in which the Wildcats led by as much as 20 in the third quarter. This season FVSU is scoring at a rate of 56 points on 32.2 percent shooting per night, ranking near the bottom of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The Wildcats are led by Jayme Gilbert who is averaging 13 points per game, while Katice Williams tops the team in rebounds at 9.4 per game.
Sitting at No. 4 in the latest Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Poll, Drury (9-0) enters the weekend fresh off a 71-64 come-from-behind victory over No. 19 Arkansas Tech on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The Panthers are explosive on offense, leading the Great Lakes Valley Conference in scoring (80.6 ppg), field goal percentage (.509) and three-point field goal percentage (.474). DU’s roster features two players averaging 14-plus points per game, Annie Armstrong at 14.9 points and Alice Heinzler at 14.4 points.
Florida Tech will face Fort Valley State in the opening game of the CarMax Holiday Tournament on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
The Panthers will then take on Drury at noon Sunday.
Live coverage for all games of the CarMax Holiday Tournament can be accessed at FloridaTechSports.com/live.