The Florida Tech women’s basketball team ran into a buzz saw Wednesday night, falling to the host Eckerd Tritons 62-45 in a Sunshine State Conference Quarterfinal meeting. The loss ends the Panthers season., while Eckerd has now won seven in a row.
Ada Yelcin led the Tritons with a career-high 22 points and Abby Whiteye was next in line with nine. The Eckerd defense held the Panthers without a double-digit scorer. Kailyn Ebb, Tereza Sedlakova, and Tanease Richardson had eight points each. Ebb finished with six rebounds and Richardson had five.
The Panthers (11-16, 8-12) got off to a 4-2 lead with hoops from Ebb and Williams with 8:00 left in the first quarter but two consecutive threes by Dallas Dickerson put Eckerd up 8-4 and Yelcin hit one with 4:56 to go, making it a 12-4 game.
Zoe Richards hit another bomb to make it 17-7 before Gracie Doane answered with one of her own. The Tritons would take a 19-10 lead into the second quarter. Richardson and Markeema Crawford would cut the deficit to 19-14 and Doane hit her second three with 6:07 to go, cutting into the Tritons advantage, 23-19. That would be the last points in the game for Doane, who is the Panthers biggest threat from outside. She finished the game 2-for-9 from beyond the arc.
Eckerd (22-6, 15-5 SSC) did not score for the final 3:02 of the half and the Panthers were shut out for the final 1:55, trailing 35-23 at the half. Florida Tech finished the half going 9-of-30 from the field and 2-of-10 from three-point range. Eckerd was 5-of-15 from long range, helping them build that halftime lead.
Gudlaug Juliusdottir and Aniquah Swan got the Panthers to within eight, 35-27, but Yelcin took care of that in a hurry, hitting back-to-back three’s, helping the home team go on a 10-0 run with 5:02 to go and lead 45-27.
The Panthers went from 8:09 to 3:24 without a basket before Richardson laid one in to make it 47-30. Eckerd took a 51-37 lead with the fourth quarter still to play. That was a low-scoring quarter for both teams with Eckerd outscoring the Panthers 11-8.
Florida Tech finished 17-of-60 from the field (28.3 percent). They were 2-of-19 from three (10.5 percent and hit nine of their 18 free-throws. Eckerd finished 21-of-54 from the floor (38.9 percent), including 10-of-31 from three-point range (32.3 percent)
For more info: Florida Tech @ Eckerd Box Score (SSC Quarterfinal)
The Panthers season is over, while second-ranked Eckerd moves on to the conference semifinal game, Saturday against third-ranked Embry-Riddle.