Header pic: Lina Stranger-Johannessen – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics
The Florida Southern Moccasins (2-4, 1-1 SSC) got an 81-62 victory over the Florida Tech Panthers (1-6, 0-2 SSC) on Wednesday in a Sunshine State Conference game at the Clemente Center.
Florida Southern averages around 61 points a game and they came out firing on all cylinders in this one.
“That’s a good basketball team,” said Panthers head coach John Reynolds by phone after the game. “They worked hard to get open and made shots, and we didn’t work hard enough to keep them from getting open.”
Whitney Jacob, Madlena Gerke, and Julia Jenike led the Moccasins charge with 19, 14, and 13 points respectively. They outscored the Panthers 22-13 in each of the first two quarters. Florida Tech did win the fourth quarter 18-16 but never made a serious charge in the second half.
Panthers Freshman Dalma Ehmann led the Panthers with 12 points, coming out of nowhere to top the box score.
“She is a big-bodied kid, she’s got great hands, and she can finish,” Reynolds said of Ehmann. We have to be careful not to overplay her. We talked on Monday and Tuesday about making changes and she is making us rethink the lineup.”
Hannah Roney scored 11, and Lina Stranger-Johannessen finished with 10. Severine Uggen and Aiste Vaitekunaite each had nine.
“Hannah and Lina did some really good things out there,” said Reynolds. “Lina defended well and Hannah is gonna play as hard as she can for as long as she can and that’s just who she is. They are both capable of playing 35 minutes a night.”
The Panthers got threes from Paulin and Roney to get things going, but the Mocs’ quickly came back and tied the game at eight, before Gerke’s three gave them a lead they would not relinquish, going on an 11-0 run to lead 19-8. Uggen’s three with 58 seconds left broke the string, but the Panther trailed 22-13 heading to the second.
The teams traded baskets early in the second before the Mocs’ went on a 7-0 run and led 33-18 with 4:52 left in the half. Threes by Jenike and Sara Wohlgemuth put the visitors up 18 and they went to the locker room up by that margin, 44-26.
“We played no defense,” said Reynolds. “We didn’t do much right tonight and that’s on me.”
Florida Tech went down 20 early in the third before they scored seven straight with a three by Roney and one by Stranger-Johannessen going in as well, making it a 54-41 game with 3:38 left in the third. Southern would close out the quarter on an 8-2 run and led 65-44.
The two teams started the fourth quarter trading threes. Jacob had two for FSC, while Uggen and Stranger-Johannessen hit two for the Panthers. It was 71-50 with 8:43 left. The Mocs’ would continue to widen their lead with a 7-0 run.
Roney and Aayana Nedd scored the final four points of the game for the Panthers, cutting the final deficit to 19.
I think the toughest team wins and we were not the toughest team out there tonight,” said Reynolds. “We had trouble with their 2-2-1 press, never attacked it. You can’t take what they give you, you have to create.”
For more info: Florida Southern @ Florida Tech Box Score
The Panthers shot 21-for-49 from the field (42.9 percent) , and 10-25 (40 percent) from three-point range. They were 10-for-18) from the free throw line.
Southern was 29-for-58 from the field, with an impressive 14-for-29 (48.3 percent) from three, and 9-for-12 (75 percent) from the line.
This was the fourth straight loss for the Panthers, and Reynolds will have to find answers quickly.
“When you’re in the middle of a losing streak you start to lose confidence,” Reynolds said. “The only way to get it back is to toughen up. Physical toughness and mental toughness along with belief in yourself. We aren’t gonna focus on the negative, there are some things to take away from this and we will do that going into Saturday.”
The Panthers will travel to Winter Park Saturday to take on Rollins at 2:00 p.m.