Thursday, March 04, 2010
Palm Beach State 70, Central Florida 62 (WBB)
CF (19-11) played solid basketball over the first 20 minutes, gradually carving out a lead that reached 5 points at the break. But that slight advantage was flipped on its head immediately after halftime, forcing the Lady Patriots to play from a possession or two behind for the game's final 15 minutes.
The Panthers, avenging an early-season overtime loss to these Lady Patriots, emerged from the halftime locker room with a potent combination of offensive conversions and defensive stops. The abrupt 13-1 run to open the second half left CF reeling and trailing by seven. To its credit, CF managed to slow the Palm Beach momentum and keep the game within reach. First, Markeshia Grant found Canvis Scott with a slick no-look pass to cut the Panthers lead to seven; just over a minute later, Amber Powe stroked a 3-pointer and Tyeshia Battles converted a layup in transition to trim the lead to a single point.
But CF never managed to regain the lead it held in relative comfort at halftime, missing a string of opportunites to tie or move back ahead. Palm Beach wing Tyffani Fenwick unsheathed dagger after dagger in holding off the persistent Lady Patriots, scoring 18 of her game-high 28 in halftime and cashing in a dramatic 3-point play off a loose ball that put the Panthers up 62-56 with just over 3 minutes to play.
Lady Patriots star Grant, still battling a persistent injury that cost her much of the Mid-Florida Conference season, managed just 8 points on 2-for-11 shooting. Scott led CF with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Jamesha Willis scored 15 and Powe 11. Battles scored 8 points on 3-for-12 shooting, but did make both of her 3-point attempts. As a team, CF shot an impressive 6-for-13 from long range, though only 36 percent from the field overall.
Friday's women's state semifinals pit Palm Beach against Gulf Coast and Pensacola against Tallahassee. Click here for scores from Thursday's quarterfinals.