OCALA-The College of Central Florida women's basketball team gave Chipola College all it could handle on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Region VIII Tourament, before Evelyn Akhator took over.
Akhator tied the single-game tournament record with 23 rebounds and scored 23 points to help the Indians past the Patriots 66-53.
The rebounding total by Akhator tied the single-game record set by Yolanda Griffith in 1990, a former WNBA All-Star, who starred at Palm Beach State College.
CF (25-7) trailed by 10 early in the first half, but held Chipola without a point for a span of 8:01 and took its first lead of the game with 5:31 left before hafltime.
Thais Oilveira had 12 points during the 14-2 run, which put the Patriots ahead.
CF took its last lead at 22-20, but Akhator scored the final four points of the half and Chipola took a two-point halftime lead.
From there, the Indians opened the second half with a 16-4 run and opened up a 14-point lead.
The Patriots, though, kept battling and got as close as seven on a basket by Oliveira with 1:50 remaining.
Chipola, though, made 7-of-10 free throws over the final 1:32 and held off CF.
Oliveira finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks for the Patriots.
Marcella Rocha scored all 11 of her points in the second half, while Brittany Grant scored eight for CF.
Quira Demery grabbed seven rebounds for the Patriots, who held Chipola to 27 percent shooting in the first half, but made 27 percent of their attempts as well.
Suterrica Key, who was 1-for-11 in the first half, scored 14 of her 18 points after halftime to back up Akhator for the Indians.
For the game, the Indians outrebounded CF 51-41, aided by a 20-12 edge on the offensive glass.
Akhator ended with 10 offensive rebounds and Chipola finished with a 13-7 advantage in second-chance points.
For CF, Rocha ended with four assists and three steals.
The Patriots made 11-of-15 free throws, compared to 20-of-36 for the Indians.
CF shot 20-of-62 from the floor, while the Indians ended up 12-of-26 after halftime, good for 21-of-60 for the game.
The Indians advance to the tournament championship game on Saturday evening at 5.
It marks the third straight season that Chipola has advanced to the state championship game. The Indians are 91-11 under coach Greg Franklin and 49-7 against teams ranked in the FCSAA Coaches Poll.