Panthers Drop Heartbreaker to Rollins in Home Finale

The Florida Tech women’s basketball team lost a tough one on Senior Night Wednesday, losing to Rollins 60-59 at the Clemente Center.

I’m disappointed,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds. ”That was a chance to get to .500 in league play and headed into the tournament. I don’t think either team wanted to win until we got to the five-minute mark, I thought Rollins was as sloppy as we were.”

Before the game, Florida Tech honored their three seniors, Gudlaug Juliusdottir, Amanda Allen, and Aniquah Swan (unable to be there). We wish them all good luck in the Sunshine State Conference and in their future endeavors.

Severine Uggen led the Panthers with 16 points, while Allen had 14, and was tied for the team led with five rebounds. November Morton was the final player in double digits for the Panthers, with 11. Fanny Hakanson finished with nine points and five rebounds, and four assists

This game started unconventionally, as one of the red lights around the basket was not working. The referees took note of that and the Panthers were assessed a technical. That gave Rollins two free-throws and they made them both, starting off with a lead before the game officially tipped off.

“We lost a conference game by one point because our red light didn’t work,” said Reynolds in his postgame interview on Floridatechsports.com. “That’s the second time we’ve started a game like that where a team got two free throws to start the game because we didn’t have anyone to check the lights. Maybe I’ll start doing that now.”

Things didn’t get much better for the Panthers as they found themselves down 6-0 early, and went down 15-6 before this Florida Tech team started to claw their way back into it. A five-point run by Morton made it 17-13 with 3:13 left in the opening quarter. The teams traded the last four points of the quarter and the Panthers were only down 19-15 after 10 minutes.

Rollins scored early in the second to go up 21-15, but the Panthers struggled out of the gate. Allen’s three with 5:05 left in the quarter represented the Panthers’ first points, and they closed the gap to 21-18. A bucket by Morton, followed by a three from Uggen gave the Panthers their first lead of the night, 23-21.

Rollins (15-12, 8-11 SSC) came back with a three to go up 24-23, and the Panthers answered with another from Hakanson and that gave the Panthers a two-point lead. After Rollins tied it at 26, Morton made a run at the basket and dropped one in just as the buzzer sounded. With that, the Panthers led 28-26 at the break.

The Panthers (13-15, 9-11 SSC) outscored the Tars 13-7 in the second quarter and Rollins hit two of their last 13 shots.

The third quarter went back-and-forth for the first couple of minutes with Uggen drilling a three with 7:18 to go, giving Florida Tech a 35-32 lead. Her next three put the Panthers up 39-36 with 5:05 to go. She would do it again on the next possession, and it was a 42-36 lead. An 8-0 run by the Panthers, put them up 50-38. The Tars scored the final five points of the quarter, making it a seven-point game as the teams entered the final stanza.

A three-ball by Yoke Tassent to start the fourth cut the Panthers lead to 50-46. Allen answered with a jumper to get the lead back to seven with 8:58 to go, and a Hakanson hoop followed to make it 54-46 with 8:07 left in regulation.

That would be the last points the Panthers would score until there were six seconds left on the clock when Cheyenne Scott scored on a layup. By then, Rollins had taken a 58-56 lead.

That was a drought of 8:01 officially. Rollins hit two free throws to get the lead up to four before Allen banged home a three with 1.8 seconds left. There just wasn’t enough time left for the Panthers, as they went down in defeat.

“They had it on two-tenths, it should have been four-tenths, and no one was watching the clock but me,” said Reynolds. “So that means Amanda gets a shot, but this way she doesn’t get a shot.”

For more info: Rollins @ Florida Tech Box Score

Florida Tech finished 21-for-56 from the field (37.5 percent). They were 8-for-30 (26.7 percent) from behind the arc and finished 9-for-12 from the charity stripe (75 percent).

The Tars outrebounded Florida Tech 45-26. That stat was not lost on Reynolds. “They beat our ass on the glass,” he said. “There were two plays down there at the end where they got offensive rebounds and made two threes out of it.”

Despite the loss, the Panthers will now have to wait until Saturday to find out who they will play in their first-round game of the Sunshine State Conference on Tuesday, March 3. Follow us on twitter @sports_lowdown for the most up-to-date information.