JACKSONVILLE-- The College of Central Florida women's basketball team knocked off two-time defending conference champion FSC-Jacksonville 82-78 on the road on Saturday afternoon thanks to a Brittany Grant jumper with 19 seconds remaining.
The Patriots (21-4, 7-0), winners of nine straight games and 15 of their last 16, closed the game on an 8-1 run after FSC-J went up by three following a 3-pointer.
"Our kids kept fighting and dug in there late," CF coach Tommy Jones said. "They never gave up. We hit some big shots there at the end and we really picked up our defense when we needed to.
"This was a true team effort. It is all about discipline and execution for us and our kids were big at the end."
From there, the Patriots battled back, while the Blue Wave failed to score a field goal over the final three minutes and missed 3-of-4 free throws.
With the score tied at 78, CF called timeout with 34 seconds left and Marcella Rocha (18 points, eight steals, six assists, five rebounds) found Grant, who calmly knocked down the go-ahead shot.
FSC-J had a chance to tie, but the Patriots forced a turnover that led to a run out by Sheanna James for the game-clinching basket.
"During the timeout before Grant's basket, we said we were going to start out in a zone and then switch to man on the first pass," Jones said. "I think when we switched it confused them and Sheanna was able to get a run out."
Grant (23 points, six rebounds, four steals, two assists) and Thais Oliveira (14 points, 12 rebounds, two assists) finished in double figures for CF, ranked No. 19 in the nation.
With five games left, the Patriots are in excellent shape for their first trip to the state tournament in four years.
"We're not looking ahead and we are taking things one game at a time," Jones said. "If you ask any one of our kids, they are going to tell you that all their mind is the next game.
"Right now, we feel like we are 3-0. This is our second set of four games in conference play and we got a 4-0 record through the first set and now we are trying to match that this time.
"Our kids are real focused and doing a great job. This was a fun game and a big win for us."
CF visits Daytona State on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.