The Florida Tech Panther women got a huge conference win on Saturday, beating the Embry-Riddle Eagles 80-74 in overtime at the Clemente Center. With the victory, the team moves to 12-13 overall, and 8-9 in the Sunshine State Conference.
“That was a Sunshine State Conference battle,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds. “That’s what they usually are, and there are so many teams bunched in the middle of the pack, we got a chance to stay in it. In the end, it is a typical Sunshine State Conference February.”
The Panthers were down 13 at the end of the first quarter and down 11 at the break, before a 20-11 third quarter got them back in the contest.
“It was a tale of two games,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds after the game. “It was the worst of times and it was the best of times and that’s kinda the way the game went both ways.”
Amanda Allen led the Panthers with 18 points and seven rebounds and added three blocks. She was 6-for-10 from the field and 3-for-6 behind the arc. Severine Uggen finished with 17 points and five rebounds, including 5-for-14 from three-point range. Gudlaug Juliusdottir put up 16 points, and Fanny Paulin poured in 11.
Embry Riddle (9-14, 7-10 SSC) also had three players in double figures, led by Sarah Jones with 25 points. She was 10-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-8 from three-point range.
The Eagles put together a great first quarter jumping out to an early 10-1 lead, and another 10-0 run soon followed that put ERAU up 24-5 with 1:22 to go in the quarter. Back-to-back threes by Uggen and Allen made it 24-11 after one quarter.
Allen picked up right where she left off to start the second quarter, hitting another three. That was answered by ERAU only to see Uggen hit another, making it 27-17. An 8-0 run by the Eagles made it 35-19 with 4:24 left in the half. The Panthers made a bit of a run from there, outscoring the Eagles 9-4, to go to the locker room 39-28.
A three by Hakanson made it 44-35 early in the third before the teams traded baskets for a bit. With the score 48-39 with 2:52 left in the quarter, Allen was fouled on a three-point try and hit all three free throws. Suddenly, it was 48-42. Uggen would then hit a three, cutting the lead to three. After a basket by the Eagles made it 50-45, Paulin nailed a three with the clock winding down in the third.
“The only way you can get back into a game like that is to score around your stops or scores around your stops,” said Reynolds. “I thought in the second half we did a good job of that.”
After Juliusdottir scored early in the fourth to make it 53-50, Uggen came up big again, nailing a game-tying three with 7:29 to go. She would hit again on the Panthers’ next possession, giving the Panthers a 56-55 lead. It was the first lead of the day for the Panthers with 6:44 to go in regulation.
Juliusdottir hit two consecutive shots, giving the Panthers a 60-58 lead. Uggen then hit two free throws, but a three by Jones made it 62-61. Two free throws by Juliusdottir made it 64-61 with 3:42 to go. Hakanson hit a free throw with 33 seconds left to put the Panthers up 69-67.
Allen had a block with 2.1 seconds left, but with 1.2 seconds to go, Hakanson was called for a foul, even though it looked like ERAU’s Nikki Tucker initiated the contact. It wasn’t called that way, and Tucker made both free throws tying this one at 69.
The Eagles got the first hoop in OT, but after Paulin tied things up, Allen drilled a three, giving Florida Tech a 74-71 lead. Juliusdottir made it 76-71 before a three by Jones made it 76-74 with 1:52 to go. The Panthers kept them off the board the rest of the way, finishing this game at the foul line.
For more info: ERAU @ Florida Tech Box Score
Despite the win, the Panthers dropped to fifth in the Sunshine State Conference standings, behind Saint Leo who are 12-12 overall, and 8-8 on the conference. Next up for the Panthers is a tough test against Tampa on Wednesday at the Bob Martinez Center.
“Tampa is just a machine,” said Reynolds. “They are really good and they have four or five guys on that team that average double figures.”
The Spartans will go into that match up with their perfect conference record of 16-0 intact. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.