Nelson's Free Throws Win it For Panthers

Lynisha Nelson made two free throws with 0.7 seconds remaining to give the Florida Tech Panthers a 56-54 win over the Tampa Spartans in the first round of the women’s NCAA Division II Tournament South Regional at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Friday.

Florida Tech (24-8) advances to face Arkansas Tech in the NCAA Division II Tournament South Regional semifinals at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 12.

Fifth-seeded Tampa used a 9-0 run to take a 54-46 lead with 4:42 left, but the Spartans failed to make a field goal over the final 8:46.

Fourth-seeded Florida Tech chipped away and tied the score at 54-54 on a pair of Rita Acevedo free throws with 31.2 seconds left.

Tampa (21-8) got a look at a potential  go-ahead jumper in the final 10 seconds, but it was short and Nelson grabbed the rebound. She was fouled in transition and made the winning free throws.

Ashton McClairen scored 13 points to lead Florida Tech. Sharnae Ivery added 10 points.

Gianna Messina had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Tampa. Lindsey Watson and Taja Green notched 13 points apiece in a losing effort. Green grabbed 19 rebounds.