FIU Cruises Past Farleigh Dickinson

Jerica Coleynetted 21 points in the FIU win.

By Steven Rowell/Staff Writer

Against Farleigh Dickinson, senior guard Jerica Coley registered 21 points, which is the lowest point total for the senior in a victory this season. Turns out, Coley’s services were not needed as much on this night.

Coley had plenty of help in the 79-57 victory over the Knights in the FIU Fun and Sun Classic at the U.S. Century Bank Arena on Saturday Dec. 28. Four other players reached double figures for the Panthers in scoring. Five is the most players FIU had score in double figures in a game this season.

“We need to see more of that, they did some nice things, but I think they lacked a little bit of focus, concentration and execution at times but you know we grow up every game and we got a lot kids growing up on the court,” Head Coach Cindy Russo said.

“We need to keep doing that, and that’s what got us the big lead and kept them off balance on defense and that’s very important for us,” Coley said.

After Coley started 1-5 from the field the Knights pulled within 2 with the score 14-12 at the 11:27 mark, FIU went on a 21-1 run and held the Knights nearly nine minutes without a field goal. The run was sparked by Coley and sophomore guard Taylor Shade coming off the bench to pour in nine quick points. FIU went into the intermission leading 37-20.

“We looked well sometimes; we played a lot of different combinations and we made some good runs and played some good perimeter defense,” Russo said.

In the second half, FIU increased their lead to as much as 30 points with steady dribble penetration en route to 40 points in the paint. FIU also reached the free-throw line constantly finishing the night 28-35 at the line.

“It was just being in the flow the game and finding what the defense gives, Shade said. “They kind of played off of us a little bit so we had to run our offense a little deeper and we forced them to foul us and we knocked down some free throws.”

FIU took advantage of their 21 offensive rebounds that led to 19 second chance points for the Panthers.

The Panthers took care of the basketball with FIU only turning the ball over six times after committing 17 turnovers in their last outing against Florida.

In addition to Coley’s doings, Shade finished with 16 points as the Boynton Beach, Fla. native continues her recent surge with yet another game in double figures.

“She [Shade] adds a different element and we just need a little more consistency out of her but she has been doing a great job and couldn’t be happier with her,” Russo said.

Sophomore forward Brianna Wright finished with a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Kamika Idom contributed 11 points and junior forward Tynia Mckinzie added 10 points.

“She [Wright] needs to get double-doubles every game,” Russo said.

For the Knights, they played without the services of their leading scorer in sophomore forward Brianna Thomas who is averaging 16.4 points per game. They were led by sophomore guard Kelsey Cruz tallying 16 points.

FIU will now play either Wake Forest or Florida A&M to conclude the Fun and Sun Classic on Sunday Dec. 29. Tip-off is set for 3 pm.


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