Panthers Dismantle Nova Southeastern

By  //  January 24, 2013

FIT Hosts Florida Southern On Saturday

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech shot 64 percent from the field in the first half to take a 49-32 halftime lead, and then held off a second half surge by No. 20 Nova Southeastern to leave Fort Lauderdale with an 83-73 women’s basketball victory on Wednesday.

Florida Tech sophomore Kayk Wilson led Florida Tech with 20 points in a women’s basketball road win Wednesday over Nova Southeastern. (Image courtesy of Florida Tech)

“We dropped a couple of games at home that we shouldn’t have, and we needed this win to feel good about ourselves,” Panthers head coach John Reynolds said. “We did a good job being aggressive and attacked well in the first half. We  also know good teams are going to make a run.”

Nova Southeastern (12-4, 4-2 SSC) began that run with 10:14 remaining in regulation, trailing 65-47. The 20th-ranked Sharks cut the 18-point deficit to seven points, 65-58, in less than three minutes with an 11-0 run.

Florida Tech (12-4, 4-2 SSC) pushed its lead back to nine points, twice, over the next 1:20, but Nova Southeastern kept the pressure on.

The Sharks cut the Panthers’ lead to 69-66 with 4:30 remaining after scoring six unanswered points. But the Panthers showed their grit by earning trip after trip to the charity stripe.

FIT went 8-of-10 from the free throw line over the final three minutes, including two and-one trips to the charity stripe. Kayk Wilson pushed the Panthers’ lead back to 10 points, 79-69, from the free throw line with 59 seconds remaining. Jami Chappell and Rita Acevedo also made good on a pair of free throws after being fouled while collecting defensive rebounds down the final stretch.

“I thought everyone that played tonight did a great job,” Reynolds said. “We made free throws down the stretch. They were not able to guard Rosie [Hynes] off the dribble andKayk [Wilson] lit it up from the start of the game. Peggy Smith came off the bench with 11 points and played solid defense.”

The Panthers held the Sharks under their season average of 80.7 points per game, which ranks fifth in the NCAA, in their 83-73 victory. FIT is now 10-0 when scoring 70 or more points this season, and are 11-2 when leading at the half.

FIT finished the game shooting a season-high 57 percent (30-of-53) from the field, 53 percent (8-of-15) from 3-point range and 88 percent (15-of-17) from the charity stripe.

Hynes finished with a career-high 17 points on 8-of-11 field goals, hitting several tough runners in the paint. Smith also finished with a career best 11 points, hitting 3-of-5 3-pointers. Acevedo recorded eight points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Ida Gustafsson finished in double figures for the seventh-straight game with 16 points, shooting 60 percent, and Wilson added a team-high 20 points, shooting a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line and hitting 3-of-4 from behind the arc.

In the first half, FIT trailed 11-9 out of the first media timeout, but then used a 9-0 run to take an 18-11 lead with 11:44 remaining in the half. Nova Southeastern hit three consecutive 3-pointers to take its 11-9 lead, but then the Sharks went 0-for-7 to finish the half.

The Panthers then went 10-of-12 from the field—including 5-of-6 from 3-point range–over the next seven minutes to take a 33-19 lead with eight minutes left. FIT went on a 24-8 run over the eight-minute span.

Two minutes later Wilson, who made her first three 3-pointers, was fouled from behind the arc. Wilson made good on all three free throws to give the Panthers a 36-19 lead.

Smith hit FIT’s sixth 3-pointer of the half with 1:30 remaining to give the Panthers a 45-25 lead.

The Sharks battled back with seven points, but the Panthers continued to respond until the horn ended the half. Hynes hit a runner just before the buzzer sounded to give the Panthers a 49-32 halftime lead.

Wilson finished the half with a game-high 16 points going 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-3 from long range. FIT finished the half shooting 63 percent from the field and 67 percent from long range.

FIT will return home on Saturday, Jan. 26 to host Florida Southern. The Panthers and Mocs will square off at 2 p.m. at the Clemente Center.