HIALEAH, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2024) – Florida National University’s final Continental Athletic Conference (CAC) regular season match ended with its eighth victory in its last nine games. The Conquistadors (12-10) fought off an impressive Voorhees University (5-15) squad that kept things competitive up until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Despite being outrebounded 50-42, FNU’s ability to take care of the ball is what put them ahead of their opponent. This is the second time FNU and Voorhees squared off, as FNU earned a double-overtime 97-85 win at Bucky Dent Park on Nov. 20.
In the first, the game was leveled at 10 with VU’s Grace Lupumba posting six of the Tigers’ points in the quarter. The Tigers were reckless with the ball, giving up eight turnovers while FNU committed just five. FNU got on the board with multiple players contributing. Four of FNU’s starting five had two points, while Kaylee Llanos had two points off the bench.
In the second, Voorhees outscored FNU 22-13 for a nine-point lead heading into halftime. Thirteen of those 22 points came from the Tigers reserves as FNU’s Jullie Ruiz Paneto had six points to lead all FNU scorers in the frame. Voorhees opened the quarter on a 16-4 run and ended the period winning the rebounding battle 13-9.
After the break, FNU regained the momentum of the game and outscored the Tigers 19-7. Ruiz Paneto recorded 10 points in the quarter, going 8-12 from the free-throw line. Janelisse Marty Marrero and Adalis Arroyo combined for seven in the period as FNU looked to close out this CAC battle in the fourth.
VU held a 44-40 lead in the fourth that was quickly erased in the first two minutes of the quarter. A clutch three from Llanos gave FNU a 47-46 lead. What followed was a long scoring drought for both teams, finally broken by a Ruiz Paneto layup with 4:05 on the clock. Voorhees answered with two made free throws, but two made shots from the charity stripe by Hermione Hicks put FNU up 51-48. An 8-3 run closed out the game and handed the Tigers their fifteenth loss.
Ruiz Paneto had a team-high 24 points to go along with seven rebounds. Llanos ended the night with nine, while Arroyo and Marty Marrero combined for 14.
Up Next: FNU has its final regular season game and home finale on Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. versus UFTL.