FIU cruises past Palm Beach Atlantic University

Taylor Shade, FIU point guard, brings the ball up against Palm Beach Atlantic University.

By Steven Rowell/Staff Writer

Any thoughts of a hangover from senior guard Jerica Coley’s career high 47 point game against Wake Forest last week were put to rest yesterday Jan. 5 against Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Coley poured in 31 points to lead FIU to a 78-44 victory over the Sailfish to improve the Panthers to 6-7 on the year. Coley is now eight points away from reaching another milestone. Coley trails Albena Branzova by seven points for being the all-time leading in points for FIU women’s basketball. Branzova has 2,515 points all-time in her career.

With conference play starting in their next game against Rice and FIU facing a Division II team in PBA, it almost seems like FIU could of easily overlooked the opponent at hand in the Sailfish.

That did not seem to be the case for the Panthers and neither Coley nor Head Coach Cindy Russo felt the Panthers would overlook the Sailfish.

The Panthers got off to a slow start and found themselves trailing 17-12 with 10:35 left in the first half before going on an 11-0 run to take the lead 23-17 with 7:25 left in the first half. The Panthers went into the break leading 35-26.

“We just didn’t really come out with a lot of intensity for whatever reason maybe we had stuff on our mind,” Coley said.

In the second half, the Panthers started out on a 14-3 run to increase their lead to 49-29 as the sailfish started the second half cold shooting 2-11 and committing 4 turnovers to start with 14:43 left. The Panthers never looked back.

“We focused, and we played better defense, that was a good little team with four division one transfers, they played took the middle away and always in the passing lanes and we just needed to focus and concentrate,” Russo said.

In addition to Coley, sophomore guard Taylor Shade provided 12 points off the bench; junior forward Tynia McKinzie has another strong game inside with 13 points and sophomore forward Brianna Wright shook off a rough first half to score10 points.

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