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FRIDAY, MARCH 07, 2014
Women’s Basketball Falls to Saint Leo 67-59
Senior Rita Acevedo finished her Panther career with a double-double, but Saint Leo advanced 67-59. Photo by Jim Hogue.
Senior Rita Acevedo finished her Panther career with a double-double, but Saint Leo advanced 67-59. Photo by Jim Hogue.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Women’s Basketball) – With the final spot in the semifinal round on the line, the No. 6 seed Florida Tech Panthers took on No. 4 seed Saint Leo Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Sunshine State Conference Basketball Championships. The Panthers grabbed a lead in the second half, but the Lions advanced 67-59.

“I thought that free-throws killed us,” said head coach John Reynolds. “It was an eight point game, and we missed eight free throws. You have to give credit where credit is due, they out toughed us tonight. I do not think we had the level of focus we needed.”

Unlike Wednesday night, the Panthers started cold from the floor as Saint Leo took an early lead. The Panthers did not stay cold long, as senior Ida Gustafsson put the Panthers out front 13-12. The Lions retook the lead, as both offenses struggled to find the basket.

After missing her first nine shots, junior Kayk Wilson brought the Panthers to within one at 29-28 at the half.

Gustafsson led the Panthers in the first half with eight points, and sophomore Diamond Cooper recorded three blocks. The Panthers shot just 27.8 percent in the first half. The Lions shot 34.3 percent in the first half and were led by Chaci Guzman’s nine points.

The Lions came out in the second half looking to take control. They pushed their lead to as many as eight in the early part of the second half. The Panthers then got their offense going as they took a 44-43 lead with less than 10 minutes to play. The Lions were able to jump back into the lead, and led by seven with three minutes to play.

The Panthers tried to make a late charge, but the Lions were able to repel every attempt at a run. Saint Leo made foul shots down the stretch, and earned the 67-59 victory.

Senior Rita Acevedo finished her career in a Panther uniform with a double-double. Acevedo led the Panthers with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. Wilson finished the game with 11 points.

“If you are a senior, that is the way you want to go out,” Reynolds said about Acevedo. “I can walk out of here knowing that Rita Acevedo left everything she had on the floor.”

As a team, the Panthers shot 22-of-68 from the floor good for 32.4 percent. They were 6-of-15 from beyond the arc, and 9-of-17 from the foul line.

Keishara Green led the Lions with a game-high 23 points to go with 19 rebounds. Guzman added 17 points for Saint Leo. As a team the Lions shot 41 percent for the game. They were 5-of-11 from three-point range, and 12-of-19 from the foul line.

The Panthers finish the 2013-14 season with a 17-13 overall record.
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