Shot after shot: women’s basketball rocks 2024 season

Graduate student guard Kaliah Henderson shooting a floater over two defenders. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Will Duval | Sports Director

A little over halfway through the regular season, the FIU women’s basketball team has taken their 2024 campaign by its reins.

With 20-games under their belt, the Panthers bolster a 14-6 overall record and a 5-1 conference record. After going on an eight game winning streak, their run came to an end with a 92-62 loss against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Saturday, Jan. 27.


In that game, they allowed MTSU to build a 35-12 lead by the end of the first quarter and left no room for a comeback. While FIU was able to outscore them 21-17 in the second quarter, their efforts weren’t enough to overcome the deficit.

Coming out of halftime, things remained largely the same and the Panthers struggled to find consistency on both ends of the floor. Able to seal the deal, the Blue Raiders outscored them by 11-points in the second half and won the game.

As a team, FIU had an out of character defensive performance based off of their season averages. They allowed their opponent to shoot 59.6% from the field and 62.5% from 3-point distance.

Not only did MTSU shoot the ball at a high percentage, they also took a high volume of shots. On the night, they made 15 of their 24-3-point attempts, which supplied 45 of their 92 points.

While the Panthers struggled defensively through the entire game, they also struggled to find a rhythm on offense. 

Unable to convert on scoring opportunities, they shot 37.1% from the field and 25% from long distance. Despite taking 62-field goal attempts, five more than their opponent, the team couldn’t find any consistent source of offense outside of one player.

Graduate student guard Kaliah Henderson had her largest scoring total of the season and finished with 26-points. She shot 12-18 from the field and was the only FIU player to shoot over 50% in the game.

Outside of Henderson’s standout performance, the Panthers had an uncharacteristic night on both ends of the floor. Taking a 92-62 loss, the defeat dropped them into second place in the Conference USA standings.

No need to panic:

Despite FIU having one of their worst two-way performances of the season, there is no reason for them to change how they’ve been playing significantly.

When comparing their loss to their season statistics, it is clear that the game against MTSU will go down as an outlier. On the season, the Panthers hold a 39.7% average opponent field goal percentage, which is far below what they allowed in that game.

Beyond field goal percentage, they also the opposing teams’ ability to make perimeter shots. This year, they’ve forced their opponents into a 31.5% average 3-point percentage, resulting in 5.3-made 3-pointers per game.

Looking past field shooting percentages, FIU has also thrived as a rebounding team, as they average 40.9-per game. Sequentially, they tend to out rebound their opponents, allowing them to grab an average of 33.8-rebounds per game.

Besides their defensive dominance throughout the season, the Panthers also command one of the strongest offenses in the conference. Scoring at a high rate, they average 71-points per game and rank second in Conference USA in points per game.

Supporting their high scoring output, they have shot 41.5% from the field this season and 32.6% from 3-point distance. Both their field goal percentage and 3-point percentage rank third in the conference in each statistic.

In light of their most recent game, there is still no reason for FIU to panic after losing once. While the stakes of the game were very high, as it decided the top seed in the conference, there’s still the remainder of the season ahead.

Throughout the entire season, they have proven to be one of the conference’s elite teams. Both in record and in statistics, they rank among the top teams of the conference.

One loss doesn’t change the fact that the Panthers have already achieved an eight game win streak. Fundamentally, a team needs the talent to go on a run as they did, there’s no reason for panic as things currently stand.

Hoping to bounce back in their next game, the FIU women’s basketball team is traveling to Ruston, Louisiana to take on the LA Tech Bulldogs on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024.

Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at Thomas Assembly Center and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.

Follow Will Duval on X: @WillDuval40

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