FIUphiles could save the Percoset and just gulp down this weekend's athletic results. Remember Steve Harvey's routine that "White people have wonderful weekends?" Almost that good.
A decade-old indoor track school record fell when senior Brandon Ballard burned through a 400 in 48.19 seconds at the Grand Valley State Big Meet, knocking off Alonzo Phillips' 2006-set record of 48.31. Ballard's time tied for 183rd in the nation this indoor season.
In Marlin Chinn's first year, defense and rebounding remain areas of deficiency for the women's basketball team. Getting 6-2 Brianna Wright back from injury helps with the latter, obviously. After she grabbed 20 rebounds Saturday afternoon in the Panthers' 59-54 win at UTSA, FIU's 2-2 in Wright's four games after going winless in the first nine Conference USA games. In case you were wondering, the school single game record is 26, set by Barbara Howell against Tampa, Jan. 26, 1980.
That's one of the few significant FIU women's basketball moments for which Cindy Russo wasn't present. She was in the second of two years as Lamar's head coach. (If you've been around FIU long enough to know off the top of your head that Mary Ellen Fiske headed FIU's women's hoops program that season, we keep the Metamucil on the second shelf of the pantry). Saturday at halftime of the noon game against Rice, FIU will honor Russo and former assistant/associate coach Inge Nissen, the two women who recruited, coached, pushed and tugged the women's program to success over three decades.
The men's basketball team broke their five-game losing streak by doing what they should against UTSA's men. FIU's most consistent scorer this season, Daviyon Draper, scored exactly his conference game average of 18, grabbed seven rebounds and played all but the last 30 seconds. But the most interesting aspect of the game jumped out as the five Panthers starters took the floor. Still planted on the bench for the first time in his FIU career: center Adrian Diaz. Too much statistical invisibility for one so large prompted FIU coach Anthony Evans to try benching Diaz for motivation. A roused Diaz scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds before fouling out.
Softball opened the season with a late big-inning 7-1 loss to No. 10 Florida State, but did so in front of a full house at FIU Softball Stadium. The Panthers won their remaining four games at the Juiceblendz Invitational. More on softball from second-year head coach Gator Rebhan in the next post.