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No. 21 Tampa Rolls Over Panthers

Header pic: Fanny Paulin – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics

On Saturday, the Florida Tech women’s basketball team met a very tough nationally-ranked Tampa team, dropping a 60-41 decision at the Bob Martinez Center.

Fanny Paulin led the Panthers with 11 points and Aiste Vaitekunaite was the Panthers leading rebounder with six. She also had four points. Hannah Roney had seven points and four rebounds.

Tampa (24-5, 15-3 SSC) got 16 points each from Dori Nagy and Aliyah Abney, and eight rebounds from Kayla Bonilla. The Spartans were 22-for-49 from the floor (42.9 percent and hit just two of 18 three-pointers (18.2 percent).

Florida Tech (3-20, 1-17 SSC) was 15-for-57 from the field (26.3 percent. They were 5-for-22 from long range (22.7 percent and finished 6-for-8 from the line (75.0 percent)

“Our shooters had wide-open looks and didn’t make shots,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds by phone after the game. “I thought we looked scared when we got close to the basket.”

It took 2:15 for Tampa to get the first basket of the game and 15 seconds later Makyla Daniels tied it at two. Things went south for the Panthers from there, as Tampa scored 19 of the next 25 points and led the Panthers 21-8. There were no points scored by either team in the final 1:45 of the quarter.

Aayana Nedd drained a three and hit a free throw to start the second quarter and make it a 21-12 game. Severine Uggen hit a three with 4:34 left in the quarter and it was 24-17 Tampa. The Spartans would go on an 8-0 run after that and they led 32-17. Paulin’s layup with 23 seconds left halted the run and gave the Panthers a 13-point deficit at the half.

Florida Tech got the third quarter started with a 7-0 run. Daniels got a hoop, Roney hit a three and Paulin hit two free throws. All of a sudden, it was a six-point game. Unfortunately, that was as close as they would get, with Tampa scoring the next five points. Things went back-and-forth from there before Roney hit a shot at the buzzer to make it 44-34 at the end of the stanza.

“We were down 42-32 and missed four shots from two feet,” said Reynolds. “Tampa is a good team, but we just couldn’t make shots. This game should have been so much closer.”

The Panthers’ struggles would continue as they missed the first two shots of the fourth quarter. They went down 49-34 before Paulin got one to fall. Tampa led 58-38 with 1:46 left and won it by 19.

“We did a good job holding them to 60,” Reynolds said. Unfortunately, we couldn’t score 50.”

For more info: Florida Tech @ Tampa Box Score

The Panthers’ losing streak is now at five. They will play host to Palm Beach Atlantic on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.