Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tech Shows No Signs of Rust in 84-49 Win

Each Panther contributes in 35-point win over Virginia State

MELBOURNE, Fla. (Women’s Basketball) – Although Florida Tech was coming off a nine-day break, it showed no signs of rust Tuesday night as the Panthers squashed Virginia State, 84-49, in non-conference action inside the Clemente Center. Tech improves its record to 8-1 on the season, while Virginia State concludes its Florida trip at 6-2 overall.

Four Panthers scored in double figures against the Lady Trojans. For the third straight game, Lynisha Nelson paced the squad in scoring. She netted a season-high 22 points and added five rebounds, along with a game-high six assists and five steals. Ashton McClairen and Tamara Dowdell each contributed 12 tallies and Kristen Dixon matched her season average with 10.

“We had a really good first half,” Tech head coach John Reynolds said. “We were about four or five possessions away from making it a great half. Regardless, I’m really happy with 42 points in the opening period, especially at this time of year when many people are thinking about the holidays and our students have gone home.

“I thought we stayed focused tonight despite the holidays being right around the corner. Our defense did a good job. In the first half (Virginia State) had only two open looks on the perimeter. Against Rollins last night, they were 8-for-12 from the arc and they shoot over 45-percent as a team. Everyone contributed tonight, which was good to see. Jas (Brown) and Shae (Ivery) were big for us.”

Virginia State came into Tuesday’s game after suffering a 79-65 loss, its first of the season, to Rollins Monday evening. With fresh legs, the Panthers took it to the Lady Trojans. Dowdell dropped a layup into the hoop, giving Tech a 6-4 lead at the 14:15 mark and Tech never looked back. The Panthers drew fouls, played solid defense and capitalized on Virginia State’s turnovers.

By the time the first half came to a close, Reynolds and Co. had a 42-19 advantage. The Lady Trojans coughed up 18 turnovers, which the Panthers would use to score 25 points. Even though the opposition held a slim plus-two margin on the glass, 22-20, Tech’s defense limited Virginia State to just 31.8 percent shooting from the floor.

Despite a significant lead at intermission, Tech did not let up in the second half. A free throw by Dowdell with 10:26 on the clock jump started a 22-0 run, which was capped by a bucket by Ivery. Following her jumper, Tech had its largest lead of the game, 77-35, with just over six minutes to play.
The 35-point victory is the program’s largest since it earned a 52-point win, 84-32, over Flagler on Nov. 29, 2008.

Beginning Saturday, the Panthers will host the four-team, two-day Florida Tech Holiday Tournament. Also participating will be Palm Beach Atlantic, Saint Michael’s and West Florida. Tech will kick off the tournament by playing Palm Beach Atlantic at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Following the game, Saint Michael’s and West Florida will square off at 4 p.m.

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