The Florida Tech Panthers women’s basketball team has suffered some heartbreaking losses this season and they added to that Wednesday night, losing to the Lynn Fighting Knights, 64-63 on a Paola Vazquez free-throw with 0.5 seconds left in overtime.
The Panthers shot 22-of-59 from the floor (37.3 percent) and Lynn who struggled in the first half, shooting just 31 percent, improved immensely in the second half and ended up going 28-of-67 from the field, good for 41.8 percent. Lynn won the rebounding battle 41-37 committed 23 turnovers to the Panthers 22.
DeLise Williams who had the ball in her hands at the end of regulation led the Panthers with 18 points. Tanease Richardson was the only other Florida Tech player in double figures with 10 and Markeema Crawford finished with nine before being helped off the floor with a lower-body injury with 2:07 left in the extra frame. Kailyn Ebb led the team with eight rebounds.
This was a game that the Panthers led much of the night, but Lynn lived up to their nickname, fighting to stay in it throughout and some ill-advised fouls late in the fourth and overtime ended up costing the Panthers who fell to 9-10 overall and 6-7 in the conference.
The first quarter was a forgettable one at both ends of the floor as the Panthers led 7-4 at the end of it. In the second quarter, Michaela Gelbaugh scored six points early in the quarter and the Panthers widened their lead a bit before Lynn closed the gap to 24-19 to end the half.
Lynn took their first lead of the game with 7:23 left in the third quarter, 27-26 but Williams got a steal and a bucket with 5:09 left to make it a one-point game and her free-throw moments later game the Panthers a 31-29 lead with 4:19 left. Lynn tied it immediately on a hoop from Christina Potts.
Williams was hacked and her shot went in, giving the Panthers a 34-31 lead with 3:12 left in the quarter. Crawford did the same later in the quarter, upping the Panthers lead to 41-33 with 44 seconds left. Richardson hit a free-throw with 43 seconds left to make it a nine-point game, but she gave that back when she committed a foul on Jaylen Snipes with 4.2 seconds left. One of the resulting free-throws was good and the Panthers led 42-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
Richardson’s three-ball with 8:43 got the Panthers lead back to eight and Cheyenne Scott made a free-throw, making it a 47-38 game with 7:55 to go. Williams free-throw moments later made it a 10-point cushion.
With 6:08 left, Snipes made it 50-42, setting off a 9-0 run for Lynn and cutting the Panthers lead to 50-49. Aniquah Swan made a bucket with 3:09 to go, giving the Panthers a 52-49 lead but they couldn’t hold it. Jaylen Williams tied it at 54 with 52 seconds to go. Panthers coach John Reynolds called timeout and Williams shot out of the timeout was no good. She fought for the rebound and gave the Panthers the last shot. With the clock under 10, she went to make a move toward the hoop and slipped, falling to the floor. Gelbaugh picked up the loose ball, but her shot was off, as time expired.
In the overtime period, the game was tied early at 56 before Lynn made consecutive shots to give them a 60-56 lead. A three-pointer by Vazquez made it 63-58 with 1:17 left, but Williams answered with one of her own, bringing the Panthers back 63-61 with 54 seconds left.
Gracie Doane stole the ball for the Panthers with 24 seconds left and a foul sent Williams to the line with 4.2 seconds left and she made both, tying things at 63. Unfortunately, Williams then committed the foul with 0.5 on the clock, allowing Vazquez to hit the game-winning free-throw and allow Lynn to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Lynn Box Score
Florida Tech returns home Saturday at 2:00 p.m. to play host to Saint Leo.