OCALA-- The 2016 FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 Women's State Basketball Championship tips off Thursday, March 3 on the campus of College of Central Florida in Ocala, Fla. Below is a preview of the quarterfinal match ups between the state's Top 8 teams. All games will be livestreamed on the FCSAA YouTube Channel. Be sure to visit CFPatriots.net/fcsaatournament for up-to-date tournament news and results.
Quarterfinal No. 1: College of Central Florida vs. Gulf Coast, 1 p.m.
Notes: The College of Central Florida Patriots (17-12) are led by point guard Marcella Rocha (14.4 points, 4.0 assists), who stepped up in a major way after injuries riddled her team's chances at claiming a share of a second straight Mid-Florida Conference title. Rocha had 16 games where she scored in double figures, six of those over 20 points. Mariah Bankhead (10.7 points) also has shown the ability to score and make plays for CF, ranked 10th in the state. The Patriots will need every bit they can get, as they face the nation's No. 1 ranked Commodores (25-1). Gulf Coast State's only loss was a 70-63 defeat at the hands of defending NJCAA National Champion Chipola. Gulf Coast is led by Kristina King (19.0 points, 8.7 rebounds) and Audrey-Ann Caron Goudreau (12.5 points 9.6 rebounds). The Commodores average 83.8 points per game, fifth nationally, and make 44.5 percent of their field goal attempts, which is 18th in the USA.
Quarterfinal No. 2: Santa Fe vs. Broward, 3 p.m.
Notes: The Santa Fe College Saints (15-13) qualified as the second place team from the Mid-Florida Conference, while the Broward Seahawks (21-6) have won eight straight to finish as the runner-up from the Southern Conference. Sonya Franklin (13.5 points, 4.1 assists) and Rayven Wade (10.6 rebounds) lead the way for the Saints, who are back in the state tournament after a year absence. Broward is paced by Nicole Jimenez (15.1 points). The Seahawks are eighth nationally and tops in Florida in field goal percentage at 46 percent. Broward's turnaround is quite impressive, as it did not defeat a ranked team in the state coaches poll for three seasons prior to 2016. The Seahawks allow 49.8 points per game, which could be a huge factor, as Santa Fe enters the tournament as the lowest scoring team (67.6 points) in the field.
Quarterfinal No. 3: Chipola vs. Eastern Florida State, 6 p.m.
Notes: The defending national champion Chipola Indians (23-4) enter the tournament on a seven-game winning streak that includes a win over No. 1 Gulf Coast. Chipola, ranked No. 6 in the nation, is the two-time defending state champion and has reached the championship game in each of the last three seasons. Under coach Greg Franklin, the Indians have also made the NJCAA Final Four on two straight occasions. This year, Chipola relies on Cynthia Petke (14.6 points, 10.7 rebounds) and Aishae Edwards (14.3 points, 5.9 rebounds). The Indians are seventh nationally in scoring (82.9 points) and have made 241 shots from 3-point range, good for second in the state. Chipola also allows opponents just 51.9 points per game. Eastern Florida State is making its second consecutive trip to the state tournament and is led by Nene Johnson (14.7 points, 6.0 assists), Paola Vasquez (14.2 points) and Crystal Townsend (12.1 points, 81. rebounds). The Titans (17-9) are ranked fourth in the state. EFS lost 70-63 earlier this season to Chipola. The Titans qualified for last year's tournament and gave Gulf Coast a battle before falling in the opening round.
Quarterfinal No. 4: Daytona State vs. Northwest Florida State, 8 p.m.
Notest: The Daytona State Falcons, the nation's No. 2 ranked team, bring a 27-game winning streak into the contest against the Northwest Florida Raiders (19-9), who have made an appearance in each of the last three NJCAA National Tournaments. Daytona State's only loss was to Tallahassee, the team that NWFS had to knock off to quaify for the state tournament in its regular season finale and play-in game. Daytona State is fourth in the nation in scoring at 85.1 points and also leads the state with 265 3-pointers made and a 37.7 percentage beyond the arc. Brittney Chambers (17.7 points), Jazyland Rollins (15.0 points) and Stephanie Ormas (14.6 poiints) led the way for the Falcons (28-1). For NWFS, Acey Powell (15.0 points), Brittney Snowden (12.8 points, 9.9 rebounds) and Tia Sanders (12.4 points) are the players to watch.