Florida Tech’s Defense Delivers, Big Win Over SSC Foe Barry 52-48

By  //  January 22, 2016

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Florida Tech put on a stout defensive display Wednesday night, shutting down Sunshine State Conference foe Barry for its sixth SSC victory of the season, 52-48 at the Clemente Center. (FIT Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA- Florida Tech put on a stout defensive display Wednesday night, shutting down Sunshine State Conference foe Barry for its sixth SSC victory of the season, 52-48 at the Clemente Center.

With the win, the Panthers (11-5, 6-2 SSC) moved back above .500 at home this season and continue to grasp onto second place in the SSC standings.

The Bucs (11-6, 4-4 SSC) are pushed into a four-way tie for fourth place in the conference, with Rollins, Eckerd and Tampa.

“Coming in I thought we had a very good chance in this game,” said head coach John Reynolds.

John Reynolds

John Reynolds

“For the last couple games we’ve played without Shequana Harris and BreAnn Davis, and we just got to a spot where our role players knew their role and understood their role. We talked about it before the game that one of the things that needed to change was the roles.”

Reynolds went on to say, “Everyone had to do something a little different, and I thought Delana Green was great in this game. She had zero turnovers in 17 minutes to go along with four rebounds, two points and one block. We got a great performance out of her.”

In a matchup between the best three-point shooting team in the conference (Barry) and the top three-point defense (Florida Tech), the Panthers held the Bucs, who were averaging .401 percent from deep coming in, to just 5-of-18 for the contest.

BU’s leading scorer and rebounder this season, Amra Elezovic was shut down in the contest. She came in averaging 16.1 points and 6.3 boards per game, yet finished with just six points on 2-of-9 shooting and four rebounds.

“Elezovic had 29 points against Eckerd in her last game on Saturday and Kailyn Ebb took her right out of the game,” stated Reynolds.

“Kailyn is athletic enough and a good defender and we thought she would be a good matchup. Ebb was great and you could see she was causing issues for Elezovic after the first five minutes.”

Tiesha Flagler

Tiesha Flagler

Tiesha Flagler guided her team with 12 points and eight boards. Tereza Sedlakova also notched 12 points to go along with five rebounds in 34 minutes of action.

DeLise Williams

DeLise Williams

Narrowly missing a double-double, DeLise Williams recorded 11 points and a career-high nine boards, and converted 5-of-6 at the charity stripe in the win.

The Panthers took their first lead of the game at the 5:25 mark of the opening quarter off a runner in the lane by Williams.

FIT forced the Bucs into seven turnovers in the first frame, allowing the team to outscore BU the rest of the period and take a 12-7 lead.

Sedlakova broke out in the ensuing quarter, tallying eight of the Panthers’ first 10 points to help FIT to its first double-digit advantage of the game at 22-11. Juhnae Richardson cut BU’s deficit to eight with 3:47 left on the clock, however made free throws by Ebb and Flagler helped FIT close out the half still leading 28-19.

Through the initial 20 minutes of action, the Panthers held BU to just 28 percent shooting, including a 1-of-8 mark from three-point range.

FIT managed 32 percent from the field, while outrebounding the Bucs 24-14 in the half. Of those 24 boards, 13 came on the offensive glass, leading to nine second chance points for the Panthers.

Looking to decrease their deficit, the Bucs opened the third quarter on a 7-3 run, and a three-pointer by Jackie Perez cut FIT’s lead to just five at 31-26 with 5:59 left in the period.

Julie McCarthy

Julie McCarthy

Free throws by Flagler allowed the Panthers to extend their lead back to 10, and a tip-in by Julie McCarthy in the final seconds of the stanza gave them a 41-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

An NBA range three-pointer by Irene Sanchez again brought the Bucs to within seven points of tying the game, but a few minutes later Flagler answered, knifing through three defenders and laying it in to increase the Panthers’ lead to 11 with 4:26 remaining.

BU made a last gasp effort to even up the contest in the waning seconds, coming to within two of the Panthers off a trey by Perez to make it 50-48 with 12 seconds remaining. However, two conversions at the line by Williams closed out the game as FIT earned its fifth win at the Clemente Center this campaign.

Coming off her first career double-double in the prior game, Ebb continued her strong play Wednesday, finishing with six points and five boards, and a 4-of-4 performance at the line. McCarthy added five points and seven rebounds for the Panthers.

Kaila Britten paced BU in the game, registering 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and eight rebounds. Perez notched 11 points, on 3-of-7 from beyond the arc, three assists and two boards, while Sanchez totaled eight points and four rebounds.

FIT had one of its best games at the line, finishing 18-of-22 from the charity stripe, including 14-of-18 in the second half alone.

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The Panthers outrebounded the Bucs 45-27, including a 21-6 advantage on offensive boards finishing with a 15-3 edge in second-chance points in the game.

Florida Tech looks to build on this impressive defensive performance when it travels to Daytona Beach, Florida on Saturday to take on provisional conference member Embry-Riddle at 5 p.m. ET at the ICI Center.

The Panthers won the first meeting between the teams this season, defeating the Eagles 75-65 on Nov. 21 in Melbourne.

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