Gudlaug Juliusdottir (#11) Photo credit: James Ragan Photography

The Florida Tech women’s basketball team have yet to play a regular season game at home this season, but on Friday they played their second game of the season in Winter Park Florida, at Rollins College. Florida Tech kicked off the Tars Thanksgiving Classic, with a 74-68 loss to the Caldwell Cougars.

Florida Tech (0-3) shot 38.5 percent (25-65) from the floor, while Caldwell made half of their shots from the field (24-48). The Panthers held a 40-35 advantage on the glass and yanked 10 steals to the Cougars nine. The Panthers struggled from the line, hitting 14-of 30 while the Cougars shot 72 percent (18-of-25). That made the difference in the final outcome.

The first quarter was pretty even throughout, with the score tied at seven and 11 early. After Tanease Richardson hit a free-throw to give the Panthers a 12-11 lead, DeLise Williams made it 14-11 with 3:09 to go in the quarter, thanks to her layup.

After Caldwell (5-0) led again briefly, the Panthers ended the quarter with a 6-0 run and led 21-16. Tereza Sedlakova scored an easy basket in the first minute of the second quarter, giving the Panthers a seven-point lead, but a seven-point run by the Cougars tied it at 23, with 7:10 left in the half.

Neither team was able to pull away as the half came to a close, but the Panthers found themselves down 32-31 at the break.

Just over 3 1/2 minutes into the third, Kristen Drogsler and Tina LeBron hit back-to-back three’s, giving Caldwell a 40-32 lead, with 5:47 left in the quarter. That helped the Cougars outscore FIT 16-15 in the third and hold a 48-46 advantage going into the final 10 minutes.

After Maura Kelty hit a three 10 seconds into the final stanza, the Cougars lead was five, 51-46. After a hoop by Florida Tech, Maureen Coakley hit another long ball to make it 54-48. A 7-0 run by the Panthers helped them regain the lead 55-54 with 6:20 to go, thanks to a layup by Aniquah Swan. Unfortunately for Florida Tech, a 6-0 run gave Caldwell a 60-55 lead with 4:47 left.

Sedlakova’s jumper made it 62-60 with 2:30 to go, but that was as close as the Panthers would get, as the Cougars rattled off seven straight, giving them a 69-60 lead with 1:27 to go. The Panthers went down fighting, as Amanda Allen‘s three with 1:00 left made it 69-65, only to see Caldwell go 5-for-5 at the free-throw line down the stretch, putting the game out of reach.

Abby White hit a three with 10 seconds left, making it a 74-68 final.

For more info: Caldwell @ Florida Tech Box Score (Winter Park)

Kailyn Ebb led the Panthers in scoring with 13 points and in rebounds with nine, just missing a double-double. Allen poured in 11, while Sedlakova and Gudlaug Juliusdottir both chipped in with nine each.

 The Panthers wrap up the tournament on Saturday when they take on Talladega College at noon in the consolation game.

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