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FIU women's basketball: FIU 69, WKU 54

The Panthers picked up a big win over Western Kentucky.

Game story below

Freshman Jerica Coley had a game-high 25 points, Michelle Gonzalez had 17 points and the FIU women’s basketball team defeated Western Kentucky 69-54, Wednesday at U.S. Century Bank Arena.

Early in the game, the Panthers looked like they would drop their 18th consecutive game to Western Kentucky, falling to a 31-20 halftime deficit.

“I told them we were doing everything right,” FIU coach Cindy Russo said. “Elisa [Carey] attracted at least three people, so we said find the open person.”

Carey, a senior forward, was triple teamed nearly every time FIU passed the ball inside. Carey was limit to no points on seven attempts, fouled out late in the second half.
Led by Coley and Gonzalez, the Panthers battled back in the second half outscoring the Hilltoppers 49-23.

Coley had 16 points in the second period, including a long three-pointer at the 7:53 mark to give FIU its’ first lead of the game.

A few plays later, Coley found Gonzalez for a wide open three-pointer to help add to the Panthers’ momentum.

“What can you say about Coley, she is a coach’s dream,” Russo said.

Panthers’ sophomore Finda Mansare, sealed the victory for FIU with two consecutive three-pointers late in the game. Mansare, a native of Hungary, had 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting.

The Hilltoppers’ Janae Howard hurt FIU in the first half, scoring 14 points on 4 of 6 shooting from beyond the arc.

The Panthers did a better job of containing Howard in the second half, limiting the sophomore to 8 points on 3 of 9 shooting from the field.

“We started picking her up,” Russo said about Howard. “She got away from us one time but I think we did a really good job.

The game marked the first win for FIU over Western Kentucky since 2002.

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