The Florida Tech women’s basketball team finally got to play on their home floor Wednesday night and they made the most of it, beating Lynn 79-73 in a Sunshine State Conference matchup.

“We just squeaked one out here,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds. “We should’ve been up 20-plus at the half, but the effort was there and our scoring was balanced. I thought our shot selection was really good and the win is something we can build on, there are some really good things in this.

The Panthers had five players in double figures, three of them off the bench. Gracie Doane and Tanease Richardson led the way with 13 points apiece, Markeema Crawford had 11 and Kailyn Ebb and Tereza Sedlakova each had 10.

“I thought that was the best we’ve seen from Tanease Richardson,” Reynolds said. For sure that was the best she’s played all year.”

Florida Tech (2-3, 1-1 SSC) got off to a fast start, going on a 13-0 run to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 15-4 lead. Amanda Allen had the Panthers only three in that run, while DeLise Williams scored three over that span. The Panthers led 22-11 after the first quarter.

Doane hit an early three in the second quarter, getting the Panthers lead to 29-15 and hit another one with 5:41 to go, giving the Panthers a 15-point cushion. As the second quarter was winding down, Lynn’s Jaylen Snipes stole the ball from Gudlaug Juliusdottir, but Ebb stole it back for Tech and got off a shot that dropped, as the buzzer sounded. That got the home team into the locker room with a 47-32 lead.

“Kailyn played really hard for us and made some big plays for us tonight,” said Reynolds. “She made some really big rebounds.” Ebb ended the night 5-for-6 from the floor and pulled down seven rebounds.

Lynn (2-5, 0-3) made up a little bit of ground in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 59-49 with one quarter to play.

Ebb got the Panthers off to a good start, hitting three consecutive shots and getting the Panthers lead to 14, 65-51. Lynn was not going away, as they made a run in the final 3 1/2 minutes. Paola Vazquez hit a three with 3:27 left, sparking a 7-2 run. Mariah Penascino dropped in a layup to cut the Panthers lead to 77-73 with 12 seconds left.

Juliusdottir’s two free-throws with two seconds remaining sealed the victory. It was a positive finish to a night that saw the Panthers go just 21-of-38 from the free-throw line.

“You can’t win in our league going 21-of-38 from the free throw line,” Reynolds said. “We won the game by six, missed 17 free-throws. We make 10 of them, it’s a different game. We probably got five or six turnovers late in the game and were 3-for-8 from the free-throw line.”

The Panthers took another hit when Williams was helped off the court with 55.3 seconds left, with a lower-body injury. As of the postgame interview, Reynolds had not talked to the trainer but hoped it was “an easy sprain.” We will update her condition as information becomes available.

For more info: Lynn @ Florida Tech Box Score

The Panthers are home again on Saturday for another conference showdown, this one against Eckerd. It is Autism Awareness day with the Panthers and this game tips off at 2:00 p.m.

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