Lady Patriots fall to Daytona, share MFC title

Lady Patriots fall to Daytona, share MFC title

OCALA-The College of Central Florida women's basketball team was unable to clinch the Mid-Florida Conference outright, but is still headed to the NJCAA/FCSAA Region VIII Tournament for the first time in four years.

The Patriots (24-6, 10-2) fell behind 11-0 to start the game and trailed by as many as 25 points before getting as close as nine in a 74-57 loss to Daytona State.

With the win, the Falcons (23-7, 10-2) will share the MFC title with CF, who claimed its first piece of the conference crown since 2008.

CF earned the MFC's No. 2 seed to the state tournament as co-champions of the league by virtue of losing the season series to Daytona, 2-1.

The Patriots will host the state tournament and take on St. Petersburg at 3 p.m. in the opening round on March 4.

Meanwhile, Daytona State will face Northwest Florida State, the only team to defeat former NJCAA No. 1 Chipola this season.

On Monday, the Patriots struggled early against the Falcons, who haven't lost since a 62-61 contest to CF in Volusia County on January 17.

Since then, DSC has won eight straight games, including two wins over CF, the only team the Patriots lost to in league play.

The Patriots trailed by 22 at halftime, but battled back late to within nine late.

DSC, though, made the plays to pull away.

Thais Oliveira led CF with 13 points. Sheanna James came off the bench to score all 12 of her points in the second half, while De'ja Jeffery added eight.

CF didn't have a point off its bench until the 9:23 mark of the second half, but James, Jeffery and starter Quira Demery (nine points, nine rebounds) brought high energy to the hosts.

The Falcons, however, came up with some key stops that ended CF's run.

For the game, the Patriots made 2-of-17 from 3-point range and 29.2 percent overall from the floor.

Destiny Alston led Daytona with 21 points. The Falcons made their first six shots of the game and 12-of-17 in getting off to quick start.

CF also got eight points and seven rebounds from Brittany Grant, while Oliveira also grabbed eight rebounds. Marcella Rocha finished five assists and three steals for the Patriots.