Eastern Florida Women Rally for Victory Over Miami Dade
By Mark DeCotis, Eastern Florida // February 15, 2015
Win secures spot in State Tournament
Eastern Florida’s women’s basketball team let a 21-point halftime lead slip away but staged a late, gutsy rally to defeat host Miami Dade College 82-71 in Kendall on Saturday.
The victory improved Eastern Florida to 19-7 overall and 10-2 in the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference and qualified it for the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 postseason tournament for the first time since 2003.
The Titans also maintained their hold on first place with three games to go.
The loss, Miami Dade’s third to Eastern Florida this season, dropped the Sharks to 12-14 and 7-5 with three games to go.
The top three finishers in conference advance to the tournament and Eastern Florida, which also has three games remaining, is assured of finishing no worse than second by virtue of it owning the tiebreaker with Miami Dade.
Second-place St. Petersburg College, which began the day at 8-3, owns the tiebreaker over Eastern Florida should the teams finish tied for first.
Eastern Florida got 19 points from sophomore Rachelle Aupont, 15 from classmate Jessica Doyle, 14 from freshman Paola Vasquez and 10 from freshman Crystal Townsend en route to Saturday’s victory.
Vasquez had 14 rebounds and Aupont and Townsend 11 each.
And six of Vasquez’s points changed the game.
Miami Dade went on a 17-0 run to turn a 60-44 deficit with 13 minutes and 48 seconds to play into a 61-60 lead with 8:08 to go.
But Eastern Florida then went on a 22-9 run keyed by two Vasquez three-pointers that increased a 65-62 Eastern Florida lead into a 71-62 advantage with 4:49 to go.
The lead held up for the Eastern Florida victory.
“Tough win,” said Eastern Florida head coach Jim Grimes.
“I’ve said it before, it’s tough to get wins on the road in this conference. We fought back from adversity today.
“We played great in parts of the first half but man, we gave it away. But we responded. They took a one-point lead but from there we played very well.”
As for Vasquez’s big baskets: “She hit two big ones that really stopped their momentum and were crucial in us winning the game.”
Grimes credited a good week of practice with getting the Titans ready.
‘Our last three days of practice have been focused, back to basics, back to foundational principles,” he said.
“I really felt like, especially the first half (Eastern Florida led 52-31 at the break) and then late in the second half those principles were on full display. I’m really proud of the effort and hopefully we can carry it through the three games we have left.”
The Titans host Broward College at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Sophomore Night at Titan Field House and close the regular season with games at Indian River State and Palm Beach State.
The tournament is the first weekend in March in Ocala.
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