Nov 05, 2014
OCALA-- The College of Central Florida women's basketball team got off to a strong start in front of its home fans on Wednesday night in its regular season home opener.
The Patriots (3-0) never trailed and rolled to a 70-52 win over Indian River State.
CF led by as many as 13 in the first half, and after seeing the Pioneers close to within nine at halftime, started the final 20 minutes off with a 20-4 run and was never challenged the rest of the way.
"We had flashes of brilliance in there, but we're trying to get the complete picture," Patriots coach Tommy Jones said. "The runs show that we've got potential and we are tough to beat when we play together.
"I have high expectations for this group and I want them to continue to get better."
Thais Oliveira led the Patriots with 22 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks. The 6-foot-2 freshman from Brazil scored 14 points in the first half and also blocked four shots over the opening 20 minutes to get CF going.
"She's tough and really cleaned up for us," Jones said. "She's a special player."
De'Adjua Snelson added 12 points and five rebounds for the Patriots, while Quira Demery contributed nine points and six rebounds.
Marcella Rocha, a freshman point guard from Brazil, was tough defensively on Indian River, as she finished with seven steals and also added eight points and four rebounds. Meanwhile, Brittany Grant, the team's lone returning starter from last season at guard, pulled down six rebounds.
"This team is very unselfish and has passed well since day one," Jones said. "They really try to make plays. Right now, we've got to cut down on turnovers, but it is only the third game of the year and we'll get there. This group can be special."
CF jumped out to an early six-point lead, but saw the Pioneers (0-3) get to within 19-17 with 9:48 left in the first half.
From there, the Patriots responded with an 11-0 run and led by 13. Rocha forced three turnovers during the spurt for CF and also scored five points, including a 3-pointer.
Indian River, a state tournament team last season, got the margin down to 8, but was unable to get the contest back to a two-possession game before halftime.
For the half, CF forced 13 turnovers and limited IRSC to a 1-of-10 effort from beyond the 3-point line. Oliveira then got the Patriots going with six quick points during their 20-4 run, which turned the game into a rout.
On the night, Oliveira added six offensive rebounds and finished 9-of-19 from the floor. The Patriots also forced 28 turnovers and never let the Pioneers get closer than 20 points after the big run to start the second half.
CF's next home game will take place on November 14 against Miami Dade beginning at 6 p.m. The Patriots knocked off the Sharks by 14 points earlier this season in Gainesville, Fla. The following night will see CF host St. Petersburg College at 6 p.m. The Patriots split a pair of games last season with the Titans, a state tournament team from a year ago, who finished as state semifinalists after a loss to Northwest Florida State.