The Florida Tech women’s basketball team had their last shred of postseason hopes dashed Wednesday night when they lost to the Saint Leo Lions 58-52 at the Clemente Center.
Tereza Sedlakova led the Panthers with 17 points and November Morton finished with 16.
The Panthers (7-16, 3-12 SSC) scored seven points in the first quarter and five points in the third. They did show signs of life in the fourth, scoring 21 points. It was just too little, too late.
“We showed up to play the last five minutes of the fourth quarter,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds. “We killed ourselves.”
The game was tied at four after Gudlaug Juliusdottir hit a jumper with 2:08 into the game. From there, Saint Leo went on an 11-1 run, pulling out to a 15-5 lead. Fanny Hakanson hit two free throws with 11 seconds left, cutting it to 15-7.
The Lions (10-14, 5-11) kept a comfortable lead for much of the second quarter, between eight and 10 points. The Panthers got things going with a three by Morton to make it a 25-20 game with 3:10 to go. Sedlakova’s free throws with 1:24 left made it 29-24,
Consecutive threes by Delaney Bernard and Madelin Lang gave the Lions a 35-24 lead with 22 seconds to go in the half. Sedlakova hit a layup at the buzzer to nine at the break.
The third quarter was the ugliest of the season for both teams. While the Panthers scored five points, Saint Leo was not much better, putting up only seven. The visitors led 42-31 heading into the fourth.
“That was the worst two teams in the league playing right there,” said Reynolds. “I can’t see anybody worse than us right now.”
Things were much better offensively for both teams in the fourth quarter, as they combined for 37 points. Saint Leo started the quarter with a 10-2 run to go up 52-33. Michaela Gelbaugh hit a three with 4:49 left to stop the bleeding and get the Panthers offense going.
Another three by Morton made it 52-41 with 3:43 left and she backed that up with a jumper and another three to complete an individual eight-point run. Kailyn Ebb made a shot to make it 52-48 and cap a 15-point charge by the Panthers.
It was all about free throws down the stretch as Saint Leo went up 57-50, before Sedlakova hit a layup with nine seconds left, making it 57-52. Saint Leo would hit one more late, to up the final difference to six points.
For more info: Saint Leo @ Florida Tech Box Score
Injury news: Gracie Doane went down with an injury with 1:31 left. It looked like she turned her ankle as she was going up the court. She would return later with crutches and a bandaged foot. Reynolds would confirm to us after the game that it was a sprained ankle.
The Panthers will head to Fort Lauderdale Saturday to take on Nova Southeastern. The scheduled start time is 2:00 p.m.