FORT MYERS, FLA.- The #12 FSW Buccaneers couldn't hold off a late charging Broward squad Friday night in Suncoast Credit Union Arena, watching as an eight point fourth quarter lead evaporated before the Seahawks scored in the closing seconds for a 75-73 win.
The Bucs jumped out to an early 9-7 lead on a Kiara Felder three pointer midway through the first quarter, but Broward came out hot as well, shooting 64% in the first period to take a 22-18 lead after one.
A big second quarter from Shondell Vickers kept FSW in the game and they cut the lead to just one at 32-31 midway through the second, but again, the Bucs could not chase the hot shooting Seahawks off of the three point line, where they hit a pair of late threes to take a 42-34 lead into the break at half.
The Bucs shot a respectable 44% from the field in the first half, but Broward hit 54% of their attempts and scorched the nets for 57% from three point land in the half. FSW had major first half struggles at the free throw line where they went just 3-12 while the Seahawks went 6-8.
As the second half got underway, it was Simone Lett's turn to take over for a while. The freshman put on quite a display for a while, helping the Bucs erase the Broward lead to tie the game up at 50 with 4:13 to go in the third. The Seahawks retook a one point lead late in the quarter before Felder beat the buzzer with a banking three to give FSW a 60-58 after three quarters of action.
FSW built on that momentum as the fourth began, stretching their lead to the largest of the night at 66-58 with 6:56 remaining. But just when it looked like the Bucs were going to put the game out of reach, Broward came storming back, going on a 10-2 run over the next five minutes to tie the score up at 68 with just over two minutes left. Another big finish by Vickers gave FSW a two point lead with 1:39 remaining, but two straight Broward scores and an empty possession for the Bucs put FSW back behind by three at 73-70 with 37 seconds left on the clock.
Out of a timeout, the Bucs executed a set play to perfection, getting a wide open three from Felder at the top of the key and she buried it, tying the game at 73 as Suncoast Arena erupted with 29 seconds left.
Needing a stop to at worst force overtime, the Bucs couldn't find one as Broward got loose in the lane for an easy two to give the Seahawks a 75-73 lead with just seconds remaining.
FSW had one last chance and it looked like they would have a chance to win the game at the free throw line with no time on the clock, but a late whistle ruled that a Buc shooter had landed after her shot attempt and the foul was on the ground as opposed to a shooting foul, subsequently ending the game to the dismay of all in the arena.
The Bucs shot just 39% in the loss while Broward shot 45% on the night and was 13-31 from downtown. Vickers led FSW with a huge opening night effort, finishing with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Lett was the only other player in double figures with 11 while Tonysha Curry had 9 points and 9 boards.
FSW falls to 0-1 on the season while Broward earns a big early season road victory to move to 1-0.
The Bucs will try to regroup Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM when they take on ASA Miami.
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SUNCOAST CREDIT UNION ARENA
The Buccaneers compete in the brand new Suncoast Credit Union Arena. Suncoast Credit Union Arena is approximately 75,000 square feet and is home to the FSW basketball teams and a student athletic center. The arena seats approximately 3,300 fans and includes six skyboxes, a hospitality event center, competition courts that convert into recreational courts, athletic office space, student, faculty and staff wellness, and an athletic center with a fitness pavilion, men's and women's locker rooms and a weight training area. The arena has two Daktronics displays, on the north and south walls, that each measure 10 feet high by 20 feet wide. Both displays incorporate variable content zoning to each show one large image or they can be divided into multiple windows to show any variety of live video, instant replays, up-to-the-minute statistics, graphics and animations, and sponsorship messages. One-hundred feet of ribbon displays have been installed on the east and west walls of the arena. The ribbons provide the opportunity to supplement the content on the main displays as well as highlight sponsors throughout events.