Florida Tech Panthers Slide by Webber International 78-74

By  //  November 29, 2015

Putting an end to its two-game losing skid, Florida Tech (4-2) earned a hard fought 78-74 victory over Webber International (3-4) Saturday at the Clemente Center. (Photo by Amanda Stratford Photography)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Putting an end to its two-game losing skid, Florida Tech (4-2) earned a hard fought 78-74 victory over Webber International (3-4) Saturday at the Clemente Center.

Shequana Harris led four Panthers who scored in double-figures in the game. The junior scored 15 points in 29 minutes and raked in seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

DeLise Williams played a game-high 38 minutes and finished with 12 points, including nine from beyond the arc, to go along with three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Working hard in the paint, Julie McCarthy notched 11 points and six rebounds. The junior also converted 7-of-10 attempts from the charity stripe.

Play was close early as the teams exchanged baskets through the opening quarter. With 1:35 remaining in the period, Tereza Sedlakova made a trey from the left wing to help the Panthers take a five point lead into the second period.

FIT’s advantage stayed at five points entering halftime as both sides tacked on 14 points in the second quarter.

Tiesha Flagler
Tiesha Flagler

Tiesha Flagler led all Panthers in the first half with seven points, five assists and three rebounds. Flagler finished with 13 points, a season-high seven assists and five rebounds in the game.

After 20 minutes, the Panthers were making just 31.4 percent of their shots, compared to the 36.7 percent by the Warriors. FIT made up for the deficiency with its effort on the glass, snagging 28 rebounds in the first half, including 12 on the offensive end. The 28 boards are the most collected by the Panthers in any half this season.

In the second half, FIT extended its lead to 11 after the third period, and as much as 15 with 8:55 to go in the fourth, but WIU fought back. Shakeria Wilson cut the lead to single-digits with 7:22 remaining but the Panthers answered as Flagler found Diamond Cooper open underneath the basket on the following possession.

The Warriors kept at it, though, outscoring FIT 18-7 over the next six minutes to tie the game at 74-74 on a Victoria Baggett three-pointer with just 1:21 left in the quarter. However, free throws by Williams and McCarthy and a layup by Harris pushed FIT’s lead back to four in the final minute as the Panthers held on for their second victory at the Clemente Center this season.

Kailyn Ebb was productive off the bench for FIT, tallying eight points and eight rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass. Cooper also finished with eight points in addition to three rebounds and one block, and Kareese Johnson scored six points, knocking down both of her three-point attempts in the fourth quarter to help secure the Panthers’ win.

Deslyn Applewhaite paced the Warriors with a game-high 22 points, while Mar’Lisa Braxton had a solid outing for her team, recording 20 points. Braxton also collected seven rebounds and five assists, both team-highs. Baggett was the other Warrior to reach double-digits, scoring 16 points, including two makes from beyond the arc.

Both teams ended with 15 assists in the contest. The Panthers won the battle for rebounds against WIU 49-39, however, the Warriors finished with better shooting percentages from the field, beyond the arc and at the free throw line.

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FIT took advantage of the Warriors’ aggressiveness on defense, though, forcing them into 28 fouls, which led to a season-high 37 trips to the charity stripe for the Panthers.

Florida Tech returns to Sunshine State Conference action Wednesday as the Panthers head to St. Petersburg, Florida for a tilt with the Eckerd Tritons.

The game is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be accessed at FloridaTechSports.com.