Roundup – Tennis team swept; basketball hits road for UALR

Sasha Melnikova drives to the basket during FIU’s matchup with North Texas on Feb.9.

By: FIUSM Sports Staff

sports@fiusm.com

The weekend didn’t go quite as well as coach Melissa Applebaum-Dall’au and her team would have liked it. At the Lady Raider Shootout in Lubbock, Texas, the Panthers fell to 1-9 on the season after getting swept 0-3 in the three day tournament.

On Friday, FIU fell behind early to New Mexico State after losing in doubles 2-0. Karyn Guttormsen and Giulietta Boha lost their set 8-4 to Manon Sylvain and Denise Van Der Ben of NMSU, and Lisa Johnson and Magali Holt lost 8-3 to Ginet Pinero and Ros-Polly Nguyen.

In singles, the Panthers didn’t fare much better, as Rita Maisak was the lone one to win a match, defeating Denise Van Der Ben 6-4,6-2. Her win came after FIU had fallen down 2-0 early. New Mexico State went on and took the following two singles matches to secure the victory 4-1.

The next day the competition didn’t get any easier, as the Panthers faced off against the Rice Owls, who were ranked number 69 in the nation coming into the match.

Once again, they started out slow, losing two consecutive double matches as the team of Sarah McLean and Rita Maisak lost 8-4, and Giulietta Boha and Magali Holt fell 8-2.

However, Maisak was able to tie the match at 1-1, securing her fourth win in a row in singles competition defeating Dominique Harmath 6-1, 7-5. The momentum of Maisaks win could not help carry FIU though, as McLean, Guttormsen and Johnson all lost, giving the Owl’s a 4-1 victory.

In the final day of competition, the Panthers took on Santa Clara ( #73 in the nation) and lost 4-3.

To make matters worse, after the match, the team was stranded in Dallas, Texas due to inclement weather and couldn’t fly back until Monday afternoon.

 

-JACKSON WOLEK

 

Women’s Basketball

 

Sasha Melnikova drives to the basket during FIU’s matchup with North Texas on Feb.9.

The Panthers have had their ups and downs this season, but if there is a light shining through it is that they could be peaking at the right time. After picking up two solid victories in their past two matchups over North Texas

and Denver, who are both in the top three in the Western Division, the Panthers will now look to keep their winning ways against the Divison leader, University of Arkansas Little Rock.

UALR comes into this matchup winning three of their last five games, most recently losing to Middle Tennessee on Feb. 12, 59-51. But now the Trojans will be heading back home after a two game road trip to take on the Panthers.

The Trojans have one of the best shooting guards in the Sun Belt, Taylor Gault. The young freshman from Conway, Arkansas is sixth in points per game in the conference at 15.8.

Gault and her teammates will have to find a way to slow down FIU’s sensational sophomore, Jerica Coley.

Coley comes into this matchup averaging 24.1 points per game, still second in the nation. Although her numbers have dipped in recent weeks, it is not because of lack of trying. It is simply because the Panthers are finding other ways to get the ball in the net.

This past week saw three Panthers reach double figures in scoring, something they hadn’t done in their previous seven games. Coupled with the emergence of Diamond Ashmore to provide Finda Mansare with rest during games will only strengthen the Panthers as they move toward the Sun Belt Tournament in March.

With a win over the Trojans, the Panthers could vault over South Alabama for third in the Eastern Division because they defeated the Jaguars earlier on in the year.

The Panthers will need help though if they hope to reach second place in the East because they are currently two games back of rival Florida Atlantic with just four games left in the season.

 

-BRANDON WISE

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