Will Duval | Sports Director
The FIU women’s basketball team looks to build upon their first win, taking on the Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros in Edinburg, Texas on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023.
Coming off a 113-30 victory over the Florida National Conquistadors, the Panthers opened up their season with a 1-0 record. In that game, they had an offensive eruption and played stout defense, leading to an 83-point blowout win.
Beginning the game focused, FIU was able to take a 10-0 lead in their first three minutes of action.
Shutting down FNU’s offense, senior forward Maria Torres recorded two blocks during that time and kept them scoreless.
Sophomore guard Adalis Arroyo snapped their cold streak and nailed a 3-pointer, giving her team their first points of the game. Lighting a spark in the offense, they were able to outscore the Panthers 11-9 over the next five minutes of the quarter.
With the score at 19-11, FIU remained in control of the game but looked to extend their lead further.
Led by graduate student guard Kaliah Henderson, they went on a 10-0 scoring run over the final two minutes of the first quarter. She made all four of her free throw attempts and scored four of the team’s ten points.
Finishing the quarter with a 29-11 score, they staked out an 18 point lead but were still not satisfied.
Outsourcing the Conquistadors 28-9 in the second quarter, the Panthers were able to continue executing their offensive and defensive gameplans.
Before halftime, junior shooting guard Aileen Marquez knocked down a three with only three seconds remaining in the half. Her basket gave FIU a 57-20 lead entering the halftime break.
In the first half, they limited FNU to 7-32 shooting, which resulted in a 21.9% field goal percentage. After allowing three 3-pointers in the first quarter, they forced them into missing all four attempts in the second.
Bringing their momentum into the second half, the Panthers were able to continue playing their style of basketball.
Over the entire second half, the Conquistadors were only able to score ten points, scoring five in each quarter.
While their opponent was unable to find a source of offense, FIU scored 56 points in the second half.
Blowing out FNU, they took a 113-30 victory and never trailed at any point of the game.
As a team, they shot 46.1% from the field and 36.4% from 3-point territory, surpassing their season averages from last season.
Sophomore forward Mya Kone led the team in both points and rebounds, as she finished 20 points and 14 rebounds on 8-18 shooting.
Collecting their first win of the year, the Panthers improved their record to 1-0 and look to have their performance translate into the next game.
UTRGV started their season with an 0-1 record after taking a 95-53 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
They struggled to score in the first half of that game, as they were only able to accumulate 15 points by halftime.
Despite outsourcing the Red Raiders in each of the final two quarters, they were unable to overcome a 62-15 halftime deficit. If they wanted to make a comeback, they would’ve had to score nearly 50 unanswered points.
Offense didn’t come easily for them, as the Vaqueros shot 36.7% from the field and 18.2% from three in the game.
If FIU wishes to leave the matchup victorious, they must continue to stymie opposing offenses while also finding offensive success themselves.
Henderson led the team in scoring last season and struggled in her first game this year. While still finishing with seven points, she only made one of her eight shots and missed five of her ten free throws.
Still able to leave victorious, she cannot repeat that performance against UTRGV. As a team of mostly new players, her consistency from years prior can act as a stabilizing force.
Facing off with an NCAA team for the first time this year, the FIU women’s basketball team is traveling to Edinburg, Texas to take on the UTRGV Vaqueros on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023.
Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. at the UTRGV Fieldhouse and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
Follow Will Duval on X: @WillDuval40