HIALEAH, Fla. (Feb. 3, 2024) – Florida National University’s final game of the Continental Athletic Conference (CAC) Classic hosted by Crowley’s Ridge College ended in another win for the Conquistadors. FNU claimed a 73-64 win over the Arkansas Baptist College Buffaloes Saturday to close out its stay at the tournament. This victory improves FNU’s conference record to 5-1 and extends its current win streak to six.
In the first period, FNU held a comfortable 18-7 advantage led by seven points from Jullie Ruiz Paneto. Louise Pilley did her part underneath the basket, picking up a game-high five rebounds in just six minutes of play. The Conquistadors’ defense was stifling in the first quarter, allowing just three made field goals from ABC and sending them to the line just once. In the second quarter, FNU shot the ball well at 47.8%, along with 2-6 shooting from three.
ABC found more production on offense before halftime, especially from Jessica Nerestant who ended the frame with six points. Pilley continued to dominate the board with five rebounds and eight points in the quarter, while Ruiz Paneto and Kaylee Llanos combined for 17.
FNU gave the Buffaloes some life in the third, allowing ABC to outscore them 18-10. Anna Kassim posted six points through this stretch and Jessica Nerestant grabbed eight offensive rebounds that led to crucial second-chance points. FNU went 4-20 for the field despite Janelisse Marty Marrero coming to life for six points on two made threes.
With just over six minutes left in the fourth, a layup from Davi Jones made it 57-51 before ABC called a full timeout after a turnover from Ruiz Paneto. With things a bit shaky, Llanos proved to be just what the doctor ordered as her three-point play gave FNU just enough breathing room to claim its tenth win of the season.
Ruiz Paneto ended the game with 22 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Llanos had another explosive game off the bench with 20 points and two boards. Notably, Marty Marrero and Pilley scored 12 apiece.
Up Next: The Conquistadors head to South Carolina for its two final CAC games of the 2024 season starting Feb. 7.