Friday, March 04, 2011
Pensacola 96, CF Lady Patriots 71 (WBB)
Despite the loss, CF (18-14) gained a measure of redemption in Marianna after squeaking into the postseason as the Mid-Florida Conference's third-place team. The Lady Patriots knocked off favored Southern Conference champion Indian River 49-44 in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday to reach the state's final four, where they combined with their male counterparts to make Central Florida the only FCCAA school to place both of its basketball teams in this year's state semifinals.
The team's trip to Marianna also continued head coach Cheryl Rice's streak of state tournament appearances. Rice has guided the Lady Patriots to the state tournament in each of her nine seasons with the program; this 2010-11 squad is the sixth of those teams to reach at least the state semifinals.
But Pensacola proved an insurmountable obstacle. The Lady Pirates burned through their regular-season schedule without a loss, including a perfect run through the tough Panhandle Conference, and entered the postseason as the NJCAA's No. 1 team. After surviving a quarterfinal scare from CF's familiar MFC rival Daytona State on Wednesday, Pensacola appeared to enter Friday's game with renewed focus.
CF made an early upset bid behind a versatile offensive attack and an unorthodox zone defense. The teams stood tied at 13 with 13 minutes to play in the first half. But the top-ranked Lady Pirates unleashed a devastating run that extended to halftime and gave Pensacola a 53-31 lead at the break. CF couldn't make a dent in that margin in the second half.
Quinnecia Twine poured in a game-high 25 points and added 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Moniqua Darby scored 15, and Briana Gibson posted a near double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds. Point guard Janay Borum produced her usual box score-filling effort with 5 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 6 steals.