FIU Women’s Basketball Secures Two Straight Wins Over C-USA Contenders

Tanajah Hayes moving like A.I. to get past the UTEP defender. Photo by FIU Athletics

Marc Zakharov / Staff Writer

The FIU Women’s Basketball team found their way back into the win column this week after blowing out both the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners and Texas-El Paso Miners.

On Thursday, FIU faced the Roadrunners who they outperformed in almost every aspect of the game. They won largely in part because of their determination on the defensive end which in turn allowed them to become productive on the offense. 

In the first quarter, the Panthers were having a back and forth battle with UTSA, but still holding the lead the entire time. By the end of the half, FIU had made four of their eighth attempted three pointers and were up 30-22 at halftime. 

FIU quickly took over from here as they went on a 27-10 run in the third quarter to pull away for a comfortable lead. 

The Panthers held their ground defensively and managed to keep the Roadrunners at a bay with seven turnovers which they converted to 10 points on the other end. 

Heading into the final quarter, FIU maintained the pressure and continued to score at will against UTSA. With 1:15 left in the matchup, the Panthers were up by their largest lead of 29 points and played hard until the final whistle blew, the final score being 81-53.

In the win, forward Ariel Colon led the team in points scored with 18 alongside forward Kyla Nelson with 15 who both combined for seven of the teams total 11 made threes of the game.

Guard Tanajah Hayes had seven points with eight assists which she continues to be the team leader in.

On the defensive end, forward Maria Torres tied her season high for blocks with five in the contest.

In their second game on Saturday, the Panthers went on to overbear the UTEP Miners in another blowout victory. 

With the same defensive mindset in this game, the team was able to outperform their foes beating them 72-45. 

In the first quarter, the Panthers were able to go on a 24-5 run with four made threes. They shot 60% from the field while holding UTEP to a measly 13% in the period. 

Heading into the second quarter of play, FIU continued their defensive onslaught and held the Miners to just three made field goals. In the quarter, the team was also able to get to the free throw line making six of seven.

Up 38-20 after halftime, the Panthers diminished their opponents winning hopes by burying seven of 13 made threes in the third quarter, shooting at an impressive 54% from the field. 

FIU went into the fourth up 56-35 and closed out the final 10 minutes with seven forced turnovers, outscoring UTEP 16-10 in the period. 

By the end of the game FIU forced an impressive 27 turnover against the Miners while the bench had a whopping 30 points for the night.

The team also had 36 points in the paint as well as 15 fastbreak points yielding a meaningful win for the Panthers.

Notable performances include Hayes and center Hope Butera as they both had a game high of three steals alongside guard Zaida Gonzalez and guard Olivia Trice who had two apiece. 

Four Panthers were in double digit points including Colon, Gonzalez, Hayes, and guard Grace Hunter.

Forward Emerald Ekpiteta also had a game high seven rebounds for the night.

FIU’s record now stands at 11-7 on the season and 3-4 in conference play. 

Next week the Panthers go on the road as they will match up against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on February 3 at 7pm ET and the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters on February 5 at 3pm.

About the Author

Richard Gibson
Former Sports Director of PantherNOW