Offense Keys 68-50 Victory Over FIU in Surfing Santa Opener

Offense Keys 68-50 Victory Over FIU in Surfing Santa Opener

Rhody Starters
Melendez, Wilson, Banker, Ward, Tabakman

FIU Starters
Cheek, Shade, Hegedus, Hudson Feagin

How It Happened
Rhode Island had its most efficient offensive output of the season as it knocked off host FIU 68-50 in the opener of the FIU Surfing Santa Classic Monday afternoon.

The Rams (6-5) never trailed as they shot a season-best 52.8 percent (28-of-53) from the floor. After taking a 19-15 lead at the end of the opening quarter, Rhody took command in the second quarter, outscoring FIU (2-8) 18-10 to build a 12-point lead at the break. Samantha Tabakman scored six points, while Charise Wilson and Symone Bullard had five points apiece during the quarter.

FIU was able to get within single digits after three quarters at 49-41, but the Ram defense limited the Panthers to just nine points in the final period. The Rhody advantage was never seriously in doubt down the stretch.

With the victory, Rhode Island advanced to the title game of the tournament. The Rams will face Hampton, which defeated Wake Forest 47-42 in the second game Monday. The championship game will be played at noon on Tuesday.

Inside the Box Score

  • For the second time this season, the Rams had 20 assists. Sophomore Charise Wilson had seven assists, while senior Tayra Melendez added five.
  • The 20 assists came on 28 total field goals.
  • Tayra Melendez filled the stat sheet, scoring five points, blocking five shots, dishing out five assists and grabbing six rebounds. 
  • Samantha Tabakman and Charise Wilson led the offense with 19 points each. Tabakman was 8-for-11 from the floor.
  • Wilson was 4-for-6 from 3-point range, marking the third time this season she has made four treys in one game.
  • Symone Bullard scored 10 of her 13 points in first half. She started the game 4-for-4 from floor. 
  • Bullard hit two 3-point shots for the second straight game. She had never made more than one in a game in the first 87 games of her career. Bullard has six 3-pointers in four games this year. She had five combined in her first three seasons.
  • Dominique Ward was the fourth Ram in double digits with 10 points. She also had six rebounds, three steals and two assists.
  • Kiara Palmer contributed four rebounds and one assist in seven minutes off the bench.
  • Rhode Island outscored FIU 36-8 in the paint.
  • The Rams had a 39-29 advantage on the boards.

Stat of the Game
– Rhode Island led for 39 minutes and 12 seconds. The Rams never trailed, and the scored was tied just one time.

What's Next
Rhode Island will close out play in the FIU Surfing Santa Classic in the finals against Hampton winner. Game time is at noon.