Tampa Topples Tech in SSC Clash

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Fanny Hakanson

It was a rough day at the office for the Florida Tech women Saturday, as they watched the Tampa Spartans pull away in the second half and go home with a 57-42 victory at the Clemente Center.

“Tampa shot 49 percent from the floor and we shot 35 percent from the floor,” said Panthers head coach John Reynolds. “I give Tampa some credit, they defended us really well.”

The Panthers (2-6, 0-2 SSC) did not have a double-digit scorer in this contest, as Kailyn Ebb came up one point short, leading the team with nine. Gracie Doane and Makyla Daniels finished with eight apiece and Fanny Hakanson led the home team with five rebounds and eight assists.

The two teams were evenly matched through the first 20 minutes, with the Panthers trailing 12-11 after the first quarter. They battled back in the second quarter after being down the entire way, tying the game at 19 on a Michaela Gelbaugh jumper with 1:31 to go in the half.

A jumper by Emily Eshoo gave Tampa the lead briefly, but Amanda Allen would hit a three with 27.9 seconds left, giving the Panthers their only lead of the quarter, 22-21. They would take that lead to the locker room.

“We had eight turnovers in the first half and seven of them were unforced,” said Reynolds. “How do you just throw the ball out of bounds? They scored nine points off our eight turnovers.”

A three by Doane 19 seconds into the third quarter would give the Panthers a four-point lead and they would regain that margin when Daniels jumper made it 27-23, 2:30 into the stanza. Tampa answered with an 8-0 run and led 31-27 with 5:28 to go in the third.

Julia Ingram hit a three-pointer to extend Tampa’s lead to 39-31 with 3:06 to go. She would finish with 12 points on the day.

A late layup by Hakanson closed the gap to 43-35, entering the final quarter. Tampa would pull away, outscoring the Panthers 14-7, and sending Florida Tech to their sixth straight loss.

“We gave up more points in the third quarter (22) than we gave up in the first half (21),” said Reynolds. “They scored more points in 10 minutes than they did in 20 and that tells me it’s just a lack of defensive intensity.”

When asked what changes would need to be made to try to snap this losing streak, Reynolds was very matter-of-fact in his answer.

“What I have to do is figure out which five guys play better together and play them 35 minutes a game,” said Reynolds. “Use the bench to rest them when we have to and use our timeouts to rest people.”

For more info: Tampa @ Florida Tech Box Score

The Panthers will travel to Tampa on December 18 and 19 to take part in the Tampa Holiday Classic. Florida Tech will Face the University of Findlay on Tuesday, and Texas Woman’s University on Wednesday. Both games will tip at 1:00 p.m.