No. 9 Panthers Ready For Tough Challenge Vs. Rollins
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // January 21, 2015
No. 9 Panthers meet No. 14 Rollins
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Florida Tech keeps on rolling, but the opposition only keeps getting tougher as the No. 9 Panthers meet No. 14 Rollins in the season’s most anticipated matchup thus far Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Currently 15-0, and 5-0 in the Sunshine State Conference, another added victory will give Florida Tech a two-game stranglehold atop the conference standings.
Rising seven spots in the USA Today NCAA Division II Coaches’ Poll in each of the past two weeks, the Panthers new No. 9 ranking makes them the lone SSC member within the top-10, and one of three within the top-25 altogether.
With the ranked title, Florida Tech now seemingly wears a target on its back each night it takes the floor.
After managing to withstand a first half tussle with Florida Southern, the Panthers poured in 49 second-half points on their way to a comfortable 80-60 victory on the road last Saturday.
The trio of Jasmire Brown, Shequana Harris and Kayk Wilson each tallied double-figure point totals, but it was significant contributions from the bench and Florida Tech’s defense that gave it the edge over the upset-minded Mocs.
Forwards Kaila Callender and Diamond Cooper combined for 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks on the evening. The point and rebound totals from Cooper were both season-highs for the junior.
On the defensive end, the Panthers overwhelmed the Mocs into 23 forced turnovers, converting those miscues into 32 points.
As he’s done through most of his 29 years as head coach, Rollins’ Glenn Wilkes Jr. has the Tars in contention for yet another SSC crown.
Wilkes enters Wednesday as the winningest coach in SSC history, has won 13 regular season conference titles and eight SSC Tournament Championships.
Boasting the No.1 scoring defense in the league at 53.6 points per game, Rollins (12-2, 4-1 SSC) figures to be Florida Tech’s toughest competition to date.
The Tars will likely travel to the Clemente Center with more of a chip on their shoulder after being dealt their first loss in nearly two months at Eckerd last Saturday.
Rollins limited Eckerd to just 38.2 percent shooting from the field, but had no answer for the duo of Rana Thomas and Trine Kasemagi. Thomas registered a game-high 29 points, while Kasemagi controlled the paint with 19 points and 10 boards.
Doing much of the heavy lifting for the Tars midway through the season has been seniors Emmalee Schill and Ashley Losch. Schill, a native of St. Augustine, Florida, has averaged 12.7 points and 5.9 rebounds, with Losch chipping in 10.8 points and 7.1 rebounds of her own.
Rollins swept FIT in two meetings a year ago, winning by a double-digit margin each time.
For complete coverage of Wednesday’s showdown, log onto FloridaTechSports.com
Jim Mitchell and Paul Van Scott will have the call live from the Clemente Center.