TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. ( Jan. 26, 2023) – Florida National University’s women’s basketball team came into the CAC Classic in Temple Terrace, Fla., hungry for two conference wins. The Lady Conquistadors are halfway there following a 54-49 win over the Voorhees University Tigers. FNU bounced back from two straight losses leading up to their trip to Florida College and handed the Tigers their first loss in CAC (Continental Athletic Conference) play this season following clutch performances from Natalie Larranaga and Janelisse Marty Marrero.
Both teams were evenly matched in the first frame with the score sitting at 10-10 going into the second. Catalina Valenzuela went 2-2 from the field for five first-quarter points despite the Conquistadors shooting 23.1% (3-13) for the opening quarter. The Tigers shot a little better in the first, going 5-16 (31.3%) and did a solid job of taking care of the ball with just four turnovers to FNU’s seven.
FNU held on to a 26-24 lead at the break due in large part to a much-needed offensive awakening from Larranaga. The sophomore sensation put up seven points and three rebounds after eight minutes of play in the second quarter. Marty Marrero picked up four points on a couple of smooth two pointers as FNU forced five Tiger turnovers by the end of the period.
FNU kept it rolling in the third, ending the quarter shooting a game-high 46.7% (7-15) from the floor, outscoring the Tigers 17-9. The Conquistadors also crashed the boards, out rebounding Voorhees 14-5. Marty Marrero kept shooting the ball well going 3-6 in the quarter for seven points in nine minutes of play. Aaliyah Abdala offered some shooting relief with a made three-pointer as FNU looked to close out a relentless Tiger squad in the final frame.
The fourth quarter was a nail bitter as the Tiger outscored FNU 16-11, and managed to take a 49-47 lead over FNU courtesy of a clutch three pointer from Ty’Shemia Bunkley with 3:31 left in the game.
Out of an FNU timeout, it was senior and three-point specialist Kathyann Frese-Castillo who knocked down a three to give FNU a 50-49 lead with 2:20 on the clock. In the final minutes, Larranaga and Valenzuela scored FNU’s final points on the charity stripe.
Three Conquistadors ended the night in double figures as Marty Marrero, Larranaga and Valenzuela scored 14, 12 and 10, respectively. Notably, Abdala ended the night with six much-need points off the bench.
Up Next: FNU closes out its time at the CAC classic versus Crowley’s Ridge College Jan. 27 at 4 p.m.