LAKELAND, Fla.-In the a tough battle, the Florida Tech Panthers (16-11, 10-6) fell to Sunshine State Conference opponent Florida Southern (9-18, 5-11)
52-50 in their final regular season match at the Jenkins Field House tonight. Despite the tough loss, the teams did not take this match to five overtimes
that happened earlier this season when the Panthers finally overcame 82-81.
Danielle Vaughn (Tallahassee, Florida) led all players with 17 points coming off the bench for Tech. Despite the valiant effort by Vaughn, Tech’s next
leading scorer Tenisha Chase (Temple Hills, Maryland) only pitched in nine points.
The Charity stripe ultimately proved to be the Crimson and Gray’s enemy tonight making only 15-28 from the line.
Southern’s Sarah Pavelecky (Wickliffe, Ohio) scored 13 points and had 13 rebounds, and Meghana Saoji (Longwood, Florida) hit two clutch free throws in the
final minute as Florida Southern ended the regular season with a 52-50 win over Florida Tech.
The game saw 15 lead changes and 12 ties, including 11 lead changes in the second half. The final one came with 35 seconds to play when Saoji was fouled
and converted both of her free throws to give the Lady Mocs a 51-50 lead.
The Panthers missed two shots on their next possession before Christian Wright (Lehigh Acres, Florida) came up with the rebound for Florida Southern with
2.8 seconds remaining. She made the first of her two free throws, but even after she missed the second, Nakita Prince (Titusville, Florida) corralled the
rebound for Florida Southern and ran out the clock.
The Moccasins had led by as many as seven with 9:20 remaining, but Florida Tech went on a 10-3 run over the next three-plus minutes and tied the game at 45
on a 3-pointer by Kristina Harrell (Melbourne, Florida). After that, during the game’s final six minutes, the largest lead either team had was the
Moccasins’ final two-point margin. The lead changed hand five times and was tied four others during that span.
In the first half, the Lady Mocs led by as many as six with 5:02 on the clock, but the Panthers out-scored them 9-0 over the remainder of the period to
take a 25-22 lead at the break.
Pavelecky did most of her damage in the second half, when she scored 11 of her 13 points. Along with Wright, who had 10 boards, she helped the Mocs
out-rebound the Panthers, 49-37, and grab 21 offensive rebounds.
Prince was the only other Moccasin in double figures in the point column with 12, and collected seven rebounds as well.
Florida Tech will be the #3 seed in the 2006 SSC Tournament hosted by Saint Leo and face #6 Barry University at the women’s opener on Friday, March 3rd at