Acevedo Leads Panthers Past Fort Valley State
By Florida Tech // December 31, 2012
FIT Women Now 8-2 On Season
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech closed out 2012 with its second victory over Fort Valley State in 11 days. Junior Rita Acevedo led the way with her second double-double of the season to push the Panthers past the Lady Wildcats, 88-72, in the CarMax Holiday Classic finale on Sunday.
Acevedo earned her second career double-double by dominating the boards in the first half and lighting up the cylinder in the second half. The 5-foot-7 point guard collected 10 rebounds in the first half—two off her single-game career high.
She then went on to score 19 of her 24 points in the second half, shooting 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. The junior finished the game with a career-high 24 points—going 12-of-14 from the free-throw line—16 rebounds, and also dished out eight assists.
Florida Tech (8-2) and Fort Valley State (3-5) were deadlocked at 43-43 just 1:33 into the second half. The Panthers then took a 54-47 lead with an 11-4 run before the Lady Wildcats knocked down a 3 to cut FIT’s lead to four.
With the Panthers leading 54-50, and 14:57 remaining in regulation, FIT went on long run.
“At some point you have to make a run, and we were able to by making a lot of shots,” Florida Tech coach John Reynolds said.
The Panthers went on a 19-0 run over the next six minutes to take a 73-50 lead with 9:12 left on the clock.
Graduate student Ashley Hampton opened the run with four consecutive made free throws. Hampton finished the game going 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
“Every time we were on the verge losing the lead, [Hampton] stepped up and made free throws for us,” Reynolds said.
The Panthers went 11-of-12 from the free throw line, hit three jumpers and one 3-pointer during the 19-point run.
Fort Valley State cut the deficit to 10 points with 6:02 remaining, but FIT continued to shine from the free-throw line making seven more before the game ended. The Panthers, as a team, hit 32 free throws, including 23-of-30 in the second half.
The Lady Wildcats hit the final shot before the buzzer sounded to give FIT an 88-72 win. The Panthers have won five-straight games, including two against Fort Valley State, to close out 2012.
Acevedo was not the only Panther to have a career day on Sunday. Junior Ida Gustafsson scored a career best 19 points with 13 points coming in the second half. Gustafsson was also hot from the charity stripe making 8-of-10, including 6-of-8 in the second half. The 6-foot-1 center also pulled down season-high eight rebounds.
Coming off the bench, Melissa Echols, Hampton and Kaylin Jaichon also had career days. Echols finished with 12 points in 13 minutes, while Jaichon recorded nine points and three blocked shots in just 10 minutes. Hampton finished in double figures with 10 points and a career best eight free throws.
FIT will be back in action in 2013 when it travels to Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday, Jan. 5. The Panthers and Sailfish will tip off at 2 p.m. FIT opened the CarMax Holiday Classic with an 81-54 win over Palm Beach Atlantic.