Loralei Gonzalez | Contributing Writer
High off a two-game winning streak, the FIU Panthers head to the Bluegrass State in hopes of extending it to three.
The Panthers take on the Western Kentucky Lady Toppers on Thursday, Jan. 27 at the E.A. Diddle Arena. The Panthers have only won one out of the last seven games against the Lady Toppers in the last five years.
FIU has had a solid season so far, entering this game with a 10-8 record and winning their last two home games. However, they do have a 2-3 away record and Western Kentucky has a strong 5-3 record at home.
Although the Lady Toppers have a positive record at home, they just recently suffered a loss at the hands of the Charlotte 49ers, in a close 7-point defeat.
FIU does have a chance to prove themselves, but also suffer from losing their leads during the last quarter, and sacrificing their games by the smallest mistakes. In their last match up this year with the Lady Toppers on Jan. 14, FIU trailed behind by four points after just having a small comeback in the last quarter. During crunch time, the panthers sacrifice their leads to small mistakes, costing them the win.
When looking at the statistics, WKU has a 28.6 3PT% and a 38.3 FG%, which doesn’t differ much from FIU’s 29.5 3PT% and 39.2 FG%. However, one area where FIU holds a decisive advantage is in their team leaders. FIU can tactically use their stars to their advantage, stay strong defensively and maintain consistency which can lead them to having a real shot of winning this game.
The star player for FIU so far has been senior guard Kaliah Henderson. The Florida native leads the team with 13.4 PPG and a 41.7 FG% this season. She’s an excellent playmaker and shines when it’s time to clutch a win. Even in the team’s last loss against the Lady Toppers, Henderson scored 24 with four assists and nine rebounds. Henderson is the real key in FIU having a chance to bring home a win tonight.
Keeping in mind their stats and the C-USA tournament only being a few months away, the FIU Panthers need to find the strength and perseverance to bring out a much needed win against the Lady Toppers. Doing so will improve their record 11-8 and give them a much better chance at making a splash in the C-USA tournament.
Catch the game at 7:30 P.M. ET on ESPN+.