HIALEAH, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2023) – For the third time this season, Florida National University’s women’s basketball team secured a win over the Eagles of the University of Fort Lauderdale. FNU (10-10) came into this game off a 19-day break following a win over the Jonhson University of Florida Suns on Feb. 3. UFTL (6-13) looked to close out its season with a hard-earned win but was unable to keep FNU’s offense off the board early.
In the opening frame, both teams struggled to get into a rhythm with FNU shooting 26.3% from the floor. UFTL was not far behind with just eight points off 23.5% shooting. What seemed to be the difference maker for FNU in the first was a clutch nine points from Natalie Larranaga who went a solid 3-5 from the field and made all three of her free throws as the second quarter rolled along.
In the second, FNU’s scoring kicked into high gear as Larranaga and Kathyann Frese-Castillo connected on a couple of three-pointers to help FNU secure a 30-17 lead after two. The Conquistadors shot 43.8% from the field, as Larranaga retired the period with 16 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes on the floor.
The third period saw the Eagles inch their way back into the game, scoring 12 points while FNU held on to a slight advantage scoring 17 in the quarter. Janelisse Marty Marrero was intentional with her scoring in the second half, going four for eight and knocking down two of three shots from downtown for 10 third-quarter points. FNU faced a tough crowd at Bucky Dent Park, as many of the UFTL supporters packed the stands, erupting in cheer whenever the Eagles looked to put points on the board.
Despite a rowdy crowd, FNU held a double-digit lead for a major of the contest and pulled out an impressive victory after Larranaga hit some foul trouble late in the contest and picked up her fifth personal in the fourth. The Eagles outscored FNU 20-13 down the stretch, but rebounding specialist Louise Pilley had two much-needed layups in the final minutes of the fourth and collected four rebounds as FNU concluded the regular season with a home victory, 60-49.
Larranaga had a team-high 25 points despite fouling out with five minutes left on the clock while Janelisse Marty Marrero recorded 17 in 28 minutes of play. Pilley had a nice evening underneath the rim, picking up 10 rebounds.
Up Next: Women’s basketball heads to Lawrence, Kansas, for the CAC tournament Friday versus Washington Adventist at 9 a.m.