The Florida Tech Panthers traveled to Miami Shores on Wednesday night to take on a Barry Buccaneers team that was playing their first game of the season. The Bucs overcame a 16-point third-quarter deficit in this one, beating Florida Tech 68-54.
“I am trying to forget that last 20 minutes of that game,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds after the game. “
Severine Uggen would score the Panthers’ first 11 points in what would be a 14-point first half. She would finish with 19 to lead the team. Zoe Murphy finished with nine, while Cheyenne Scott tallied eight. Uggen and Fanny Hakanson pulled down six rebounds each to lead in that category.
Things started well for the Panthers and specifically Severine Uggen. She hit a three 22 seconds into the game and would hit another 1:48 in with a layup sandwiched in. Just like that, it was Uggen 8, Barry 2. After the Bucs hit a shot, Uggen finished off a personal 11-point run with another three.
A Fanny Paulin three followed before Barry went on a 6-0 run before the Panthers reeled off six straight. Florida Tech would take a 20-13 lead into the second quarter.
The Buccaneers cut the lead to three early in the quarter, before Murphy hit her only three of the night to stretch the lead to 25-19 and spark a personal 7-0 run. A three by Paulin capped off a 10-0 run and saw the Panthers lead 32-19. Murphy would hit a jumper with 15 seconds left in the half and the Panthers went into the halftime break with a 39-26 lead.
“We did a lot of good things in that first half but we didn’t get enough from our post players,” Reynolds said. “We rushed everything. We should have had 46 of 47 in the half, not 39.”
The Panthers shot 40.5 percent (15-for-37) in the first half. They were 7-for-21 (33.3 percent from three-point range. They also won the rebounding battle 23-20. Barry went 10-for-32 from the field and managed just one three.
As good as the first half was for Florida Tech, things went south in the second half and it didn’t take long. After Uggen hit a triple to make it 42-26, Chiari Fusari answered. It was Fusari’s only three of the night but she finished with 21 to lead all scorers.
A 7-0 run by Barry cut the Panthers lead to nine. That was snapped by an Uggen bucket. The home team would get rolling again, as they took their first lead of the game 48-46 with 49 seconds left. The home team finished the quarter on a 19-2 run and led 52-46 as the third-quarter buzzer sounded.
“We gave up 26 points in the first half and they got 26 in the third quarter,” Reynolds said. Friday I thought we played well down the stretch, but Sunday and tonight we just ran out of gas, we gotta pick that side up.”
The Panthers never got going in the final stanza, following a seven-point third quarter with an eight-point fourth. Barry stepped up their defense in the second half, but especially in that fourth quarter, holding the Panthers without a point for about six and a half minutes.
Barry took advantage, going on a 10-0 run and putting the game away. The victory was the first for new head coach Kristina Baugh.
“They were in a 2-3 zone in the fourth and we didn’t get good penetration,” said Reynolds. “They got a lot of deflections and I thought we were kind of stagnant. We don’t need more plays or better plays, we need more execution on the plays we have.”
Reynolds said he is comfortable with the 45 attempts his team took from long range in this one. “I wanna see them take those,” he said. “I think we passed up three or four more that we should have taken.”
The Panthers are now 1-2 on the year, and with the condensed schedule and the threat always looming of postponements, every game matters. That said, Reynolds thinks his team is capable, they just have to put the work in.
“I think it’s game experience and when we are practicing we aren’t challenging each other enough,” he said. “We have to get better at playing forty minutes and we need to play better defense.”
Florida Tech was a dismal 5-for-31 from the floor in the second half and finished 20-for-68 for the game, a 29.4 percent clip. They were just 2-for-24 on threes in the second half, finishing the game 9-for-45 (20 percent).
Barry went 17-for-20 from the free-throw line and the Panthers managed just six free throws all game, making five.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Barry Box Score
These two teams will meet again Saturday, as the Panthers play their first game of the season on the new floor at the Clemente Center. The game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
“They’ll be fresh in our mind and we will be ready for them,” Reynolds said. “These are regional games, so we need a split here and I think we can do that.”