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Whiting Dashes Panthers Hopes Against Embry-Riddle

DeLise Williams – Photo: Sports Lowdown

For the second time this month the Florida Tech women’s basketball team lost a game at the last second, losing 71-69 to Embry-Riddle on Wednesday. Senior Sabrina Whiting found an opening in the lane and scored the game-winning bucket with .3 seconds left on the clock, giving the Eagles fans something to remember at the ICI Center.

Back on January 6, the Panthers were victimized by Barry when Stephane Granada hit a layup with 1.5 seconds left, giving Barry a 72-70 win. With Wednesday’s loss, the Panthers fell to 8-8 overall and 5-5 in the tightly bunched Sunshine State Conference.

DeLise Williams led the Panthers with 13 points in this contest, including her basket with 4.5 seconds left, that tied the game at 69. That hoop led to the Eagles calling timeout and Whiting got the bucket in the lane, to decide it. The open lane was there much of the night for Embry-Riddle as the Panthers struggled on defense inside. The Eagles outscored Florida Tech 36-30 in the paint and shot 50 percent as a team, going 26-of-52 from the field. Florida Tech finished at 40.4 percent, 21-of-52.

Tereza Sedlakova finished with 12 points, Gracie Doane had 10 and Markeema Crawford had 10 and a team-high seven rebounds. Nicole Tucker led the Eagles with a game-high 25 points.

This was a close game throughout, with Florida Tech starting the game on a 7-0 run that saw the Eagles go 0-for-7 from the field. Embry-Riddle showed why they are one of the best teams in the league as they came right back and rattled off 10 straight points and grabbing a 10-7 lead with 3:20 left, after Tucker and Ashley McWilliams hit consecutive three’s for ERAU, who finished the first quarter on an 18-9 run and led 18-16 as the quarter expired.

Florida Tech (8-8, 5-5) tied it at 18 to start the second quarter before the Eagles got two consecutive three’s from Morgan Ackermann to go up 24-18. Ackermann ended up scoring a career-high 19 points for the home team. A 6-0 run for the Panthers soon followed and the game was tied again at 26.

The Eagles (13-4, 7-3 SSC) went on a 6-0 run of their own before Michaela Gelbaugh finished a three-point play with 24 seconds left, making it a 32-29 game in favor of the Eagles. Two free-throws extended that to a 34-29 lead, but Crawford went hard to the hoop as time expired and was fouled on the way up. Her shot went in and she converted the free-throw, cutting the Embry-Riddle lead to 34-32 at the break.

The Panthers trailed throughout the third quarter, losing by as many as eight before Gelbaugh’s jumper with 24 seconds left, cut the lead to five, 56-51 and set the stage for an exciting fourth quarter.

A basket by McWilliams with 6:15 left matched ERAU’s biggest lead of the game, nine points 63-54. A 5-0 individual run by Williams that included three free-throws allowed the Panthers to cut it to 63-59. She then hit a three on the next possession, making it 64-62.

The Panthers were down 68-65 with 29 seconds left before Kailyn Ebb hit two free throws, cutting it to one. Lauren Ellenberger hit one of her two free-throws, upping the lead to 69-67 with 25 seconds left, leading to the Williams game-tying basket with 4.5 left and that left just enough time for Whiting to rip the Panthers hearts out with her game-winner.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Embry-Riddle Box Score

The Panthers will look to rebound at Eckerd on Saturday, as they continue their road trip. The tip is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.