The Lady Patriots fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Saturday night with a 69-63 home loss to Hillsborough.
CF (6-1) got another monster game from Markeshia Grant (30 points on 13-for-22 shooting, 7 rebounds) and a solid inside presence from Canvis Scott (12 points, 10 rebounds), and the home team certainly had a chance to win. But the Lady Patriots couldn't mount a consistent effort, falling behind by a couple of baskets, staging a miniature rally to tie, then falling behind again. The pattern repeated itself until the final horn. CF never managed to put together the combination of defensive stops and timely shots necessary to put away a tough opponent.
As the men's team learned Tuesday, the season's first loss is always accompanied by a package of uncomfortable truths. A wise team will acknowledge and address the weaknesses revealed by the loss. I expect Cheryl Rice's team to do that. The funny thing is that it's hard to pick out a glaring area of concern for this team - it's more like the team as a whole needs a general tweaking and smoothing of rough edges. A bad pass, a missed layup, an ill-advised shot; none is epidemic, but in total they are enough to cost you 10-15 points over the course of a game and radically change the outcome. It's the same thing ESPN announcers were harping on Friday night in the Orlando Magic - Boston Celtics game. Vince Carter was great overall, but he had just enough bad touches to turn a double-digit Magic win into a one-possession game in the final minute. That's what happened to CF on Saturday. The stat sheet says that neither team shot a great percentage, neither team made 3-pointers, and neither team dominated the glass. It's just a few made plays on one side and a few missed opportunities on the other.
CF travels to Niceville for a Thanksgiving weekend tournament, then is back home for the Women's JuCo Shootout on Dec. 3 and 4.