TALLAHASSEE- The College of Central Florida women's basketball gave defending state champion Chipola all it could handle on Tuesday night.
The Patriots (6-3) trailed by single-digits with less than three minutes remaining, before the Indians pulled away late for a 64-47 win in the Tallahassee Community College Courtyard Classic.
"We gave it a good shot, but I am not into morale victories," CF coach Tommy Jones said. "We did get better and I saw a lot of positives.
"I thought we really played well on defense. (Chipola) had been crushing people, but we had our chances."
Trailing by eight, CF saw the Indians make a 3-pointer as time expired on the shot clock to go back up by double-digits.
From there, the Patriots committed consecutive turnovers and Chipola got an old-fashioned three-point play to open things up.
"I thought our kids played hard," Jones said. "They got better and I saw a lot of improvement.
"Early on, there was some nervousness and I think they were looking at the name (Chipola) on the jersey, but they settled down and really played well at times."
CF's Quira Demery led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes of action.
Thais Oliveira had a good game on both ends of the floor, as she finished with 13 points and five rebounds in 38 minutes.
On the defensive end, Oliveira guarded Chipola's All-American Evelyn Akahtor, last year's state and tournament MVP. The 6-foot-3 Akhator entered the game averaging 23 points and 16 rebounds, but was limited to 10 points and 12 rebounds by CF.
"I thought Thais did a nice job against Akahtor, but we didn't get her enough shots on the offensive end (Oliveira made 6-of-8)," Jones said. "We really needed to get her more involved in the offense."
CF will close out play in the tournament on Wednesday at noon when it takes on Southern Union.
"That's the big one for us," Jones said. "I want to see how much we have improved and if we can build off the good things that we did tonight."
CF battled back in the game after trailing 29-17 at halftime against Chipola.
The Patriots finished with 17 turnovers and had several missed layups that curbed some of their attempts at a rally.
"We missed a lot of layups and that really hurt us," Jones said. "We probably missed at least 10 and then we had a few two-on-one's where we pulled up for a jumper.
"All-in-all, though, I was happy with our effort. We just have to keep getting better."