MELBOURNE, Fla. (Women’s Basketball) – The Panthers played a tough game Monday night
against the Lions of Florida Memorial University, but it was one they still pulled out by a score of 65-53 to go to 4-0 on the season and 3-0 at home.
“Some teams play poorly and lose,” Head Coach John Reynolds said.
“Tonight, we were fortunate enough to pull out a win without playing to full potential.”
The first points for Florida Tech came off a lay-up in the lane by senior forward Casselle Russell. Freshman guard
Lynisha Nelson drove to
the middle and made a quick pass through the lane to Russell, who finished strong to make it an early 2-2 score. It was just one of Nelson’s seven assists
on the night to add to her four rebounds, four steals and 10 points.
With the score 11-9 in favor of the Panthers, their smothering defense forced a shot clock violation. Thanks to Nelson’s on ball defense, the Lions lost
the ball at their end of the court. Florida Memorial couldn’t get the ball to their side of the court until eight seconds were left on the shot clock.
Later in the half, in an 18-17 game, the Panthers got loose on a fast break. Heminger ended up with the ball and took it in for two points even though she
was fouled on the play.
With 46 seconds left in the first half, junior guard Amanda Deveaux found senior guard Tenisha Chase cutting through the lane.
Chase made a quick pass to freshman guard Kristen Dixon to finish the pretty play.
Thanks to that play, the Panthers took a 24-20 lead into halftime. Both teams found it hard to shoot in the first half as they both registered only 25
percent from the field. Florida Tech did hold an edge in assists, five to two, and turnovers, 10 to 12.
Florida Tech continued to display strong defense early into the second half. Within the first minute, the Panthers drew a charging foul against Florida
Memorial’s Sudanne Stewart.
Shortly after, Nelson made another great pass to set up Jonesfor an easy basket. She followed that up with a steal she took the distance of the floor
before fouled by the Lions.
The Panthers drew yet another charge with 12:35 left in the second half. Heminger stood her ground against the Lions’ Kiesha Alexander. Florida Tech
followed that up with seven consecutive points before Florida Memorial’s coach Kenneth Marshall was forced to take a timeout. Jones hit a lay-up, then
Heminger took it to the basket for a made lay-up and the foul. After Heminger made the free throw, Nelson stole the ball and finished for the sixth and
seventh points of the run.
With six minutes left in the game, Heminger helped the Panthers pull away. She hit two consecutive three-pointers to push the lead to 53-45. After that,
Alexander of FMU hit a trey of her own to make it 53-48. Off the made basket though, Florida Tech’s Nelson pushed the ball up the floor to force a foul.
She made both of her free throws to regain the eight point lead for the Panthers.
The Lions took a timeout at that point and made a basket once play resumed. But Nelson followed that with a three-pointer to regain the eight point lead
Despite the game being close all night, the Panthers kept their calm in the clutch and increased the lead throughout the last four minutes of the game to
end it with a 65-53 lead.
Florida Tech will see its next action in Miami Shores, Fla. at 4 p.m. on Saturday against the Buccaneers of Barry University.