FIT Women’s Basketball Escapes With Road Win

By  //  January 31, 2013

Panthers Now 14-4 Overall

TAMPA, FLORIDA – Florida Tech’s women’s basketball team escaped the Bob Martinez Athletics Center on Wednesday evening with a 58-54 victory over Tampa to remain tied at the top of the Sunshine State Conference. The Panthers have now won four consecutive games in conference play.

Senior Jami Chappell recorded her second double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and adding 11 rebounds.against Tampa on Wednesday. (Image courtesy of Florida Tech)

“There is so much parity in this conference that I think every time a team wins it is like escaping,” head coach John Reynolds said after Florida Tech’s four-point victory. “The teams in this conference are always well prepared. [Tampa] defended us exactly the way they were supposed to.”

Tampa (12-5, 3-5 SSC) forced 14 Florida Tech (14-4, 6-2 SSC) turnovers, including nine in the first half.

“We won the game tonight without scoring 60 points, and I really thought we were going to need to score more than 60 points to win this game,” Reynolds said. “But we made free throws, we rebounded the ball and did the things we practiced. One of the things we practiced was to never give up a possession.

“That last possession of the first half was a 3-point shot by [Kayk] Wilson on the run. Tampa scored with about six seconds left and was ready to go into the half down just two points. We ended up going into the break leading by five points and then won by four.”

The Spartans made a layup with six seconds remaining in the first half to cut the Panthers’ lead to 26-24, and jogged back down the court content with being down just two points. FIT inbounded the ball and Rita Acevedo passed the ball to Kayk Wilson, who was running up the left side of the court.

From about 25 feet out, Wilson squared up the shot and let it go. The backboard lit up and the shot went in to give the Panthers a 29-24 halftime lead. Wilson finished the first half with a game-high 11 points.

In the second half, FIT held its largest lead of seven points three times throughout the first eight minutes of the half. Tampa cut the Panthers’ lead down to just one point, 46-45, with 8:31 remaining, but junior Ida Gustafsson answered with two quick layups to push FIT’s lead back to five points.

With 58 seconds remaining in regulation, the Spartans tied the game at 52-52. But FIT was composed on its next possession.

The Panthers ran the shot clock down to under 10 seconds. Acevedo, cutting across the lane, passed it back to Rosie Hynes. Then Hynes, who looked to have an open shot, passed the ball down low to Gustafsson who was all alone for the easy layup to give FIT a 54-52 lead with 29 seconds on the clock.

“[Rosie] Hynes’ pass to Ida [Gustafsson] down on the block after running the shot clock down was a great play,” Reynolds said. “We are not usually that patient of a basketball team, and I would have wanted Rosie to shoot the ball. That play was better than my coaching. Sometimes you learn things from your players, and one of the things I learned tonight was that there are times when I can trust them to make really good basketball decisions.”

Gustafsson made another great play with 14 seconds left. After a missed Panther free throw on the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity, Gustafsson pulled down the rebound and was fouled. The 6-foot-1 forward went to the line and made a pair of free throws to give FIT a 56-52 lead.

Tampa responded with a quick layup to trail 56-54 with eight seconds left and then called a timeout.

Jami Chappell inbounded the ball after the timeout to a streaking Wilson who ran the length of the court, burning five second off the clock, before getting fouled. Wilson made both free throws, going 6-for-6 from the line, to secure FIT’s fourth-straight victory in conference play.

Chappell finished the game with her second double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and adding 11 rebounds. Wilson finished with a game-high 21 points, scoring 20-plus points for the seventh time this season.

Gustafsson finished with 15 points, scoring eight points in the final four minutes of the second half. Gustafsson was in foul trouble most of the game, seeing just six minutes in the first half and 18 minutes in the entire game.

FIT will return home on Saturday, Feb. 2 to begin the second half of the conference schedule against Barry. The Panthers and Buccaneers will tip at 2 p.m. at the Clemente Center.