WINTER PARK, Fla. -- Central Missouri ran its early season record to 3-0 with a 73-57 win against Florida Tech on Friday afternoon at the Alfond Sports Center.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the early going with neither team able to seize control. The Jennies (3-0) grabbed the early advantage with a 13-9 lead on buckets from Keuna Flax and BreAnna Lewis, but Florida Tech (1-2) responded with a 9-0 run to grab an 18-13 lead midway through the first half.
The Jens pulled back to within a point before the Panthers scored four consecutive to push the lead to 24-19 with 4:10 left in the first half. A pair of free throws from Flax and a 3-pointer from Lewis tied the game and UCM closed the half on an 11-2 run to led 30-26 at the intermission.
The Jens quickly pushed the lead to seven out of the break, but Florida Tech got a three from Kayk Wilson to pull within 33-29. An 8-0 by Central Missouri pushed the lead to 12 at 41-29 with 16:54 left in the game. The Jennies were able to push the lead to 13 with 14:30 to play, but the Panthers responded with another run. A 7-0 spurt by FIT cut the UCM lead to six with just under 12 minutes to play in the game.
Justina Prairie Chief hit a three to stop the run and start an 11-4 spurt for the Jens that pushed the lead back to 13 at 58-45 with 8:53 left in regulation. The lead never dipped below 10 the rest of the way as Central Missouri would close the game on an 8-2 run to claim the 16-point win.
Flax led UCM with 20 points and also pulled down six rebounds. Lewis had 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Shelby Winkelmann added 17 points.