OCALA- For the first time in four years, the College of Central Florida women's basketball team is headed to the NJCAA/FCSAA Region VIII Tournament.
The Patriots punched their ticket to states with their third win in as many meetings with two-time defending Mid-Florida Conference champion Florida State College at Jacksonville.
The victory allowed CF to clinch a tie for the conference crown.
Sheanna James came off the bench to score 19 points, while Thais Oliveira finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for CF in a 70-60 win. Brittany Grant contributed 16 points for the Patriots (24-5, 10-1).
CF will now try to close in on its its first outright MFC title since 2008.
A loss by Daytona State to FSC-J would clinch the conference crown for the Patriots. If the Falcons win over FSC-J, CF can clinch the conference title outright with a win at home over DSC on Monday night in its final regular season home game.
If the Patriots lose to Dayton on Monday night, there will be conference title between CF and DSC. The Patriots would be the No. 2 seed from the MFC due to the head-to-head record favoring the Falcons 2-1.
On Wednesday, the Patriots put FSC-J's postseason chances on life support, as they scored 22 points off 21 Blue Wave turnovers.
CF out-rebounded FSC-J 43-39 and got 12 points after halftime from Oliveira.
Led by James, the Patriots finished with a 22-4 edge in bench scoring and made 50 percent of their shots after halftime.
CF also held the Blue Wave to 32 percent in the second half.
With the win, CF coach Tommy Jones became the third coach in state women's basketball history to lead two programs to the state tournament.Jones led Hillsborough Community College to the state tournament prior to taking over at CF.