A Look Back at Eastern Florida State Titan’s Historic Women’s Basketball Season
By Michael Parsons, Eastern Florida State College // March 25, 2022
Titans finished the basketball season with a school best 28-5 record
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The Eastern Florida State College women’s basketball team had a season for the record books.
The Titans saw their season end Saturday evening in the Elite Eight of the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament, falling to Jones College in overtime, 64-62.
It was the first time in program history a team had reached the national tournament and the Titans won their first two games in the tournament to finish the season with a school-best 28-5 record.
The team also had a 14-game win streak that ended with the loss in the semifinals of the FCSAA/Region VIII Tournament.
“This team, we have said from the jump, was different from other teams I have coached because they are so committed, so dedicated and the love they have for each other is very unique,” Eastern Florida State College women’s basketball coach MJ Baker said.
“They are able to put the team ahead of themselves. In the past, we have had pieces that were a little more selfish but this team has always been about the mission from Day 1, which was to win our conference and go to the national tournament.”
They accomplished both of those goals, becoming the best team in program history. The team was ranked nationally for most of the season, reaching as high as 16th which was also a program-best.
The Titans went unbeaten in the Central Conference for the first time in program history, going 12-0, and won those conference games by an average of 26 points.
Under Baker, the Titans have won 20-plus games three times in her five seasons, reaching over 100 wins as the head coach of the Titans.
“I like to say there is strength in numbers. To be able to have players who are good players individually but as a group is a great team.”
“We have faced teams with more talent, individually, but at the end of the day we can match up with anyone in this country because we have a great team that will compete and does the little things to win,” Baker said.
For the second time in three seasons, the team made over 200 3-pointers on the season led by the trio of Kaitlyn Sanders, Shadaria Smith, and Tatiana Beaumont who combined for 179 3-pointers this season.
Sanders, Smith and Rapuluchi Ngorka were named to the all-state team marking the first time that three Titans had been named to the all-state team.
Ngorka had a huge freshman season for the Titans averaging 13.6 points and 13.2 rebounds with 18 double-doubles.
The forward was named the Central Conference Player of the Year and finished the season with a school-best 420 rebounds.
“Favor is undersized but just does it with all heart, toughness, and grit,” Baker said.
“The fact we get her back next year, maybe she can come back and try to beat her own record next year. We call her the Beast from the East because she just wants it.”
In the national tournament quarterfinals, Ngorka grabbed a tournament single-game record of 26 rebounds which was also a school record and was named to the NJCAA Division I national championship all-tournament team, finishing the three games averaging 11 points and 11 rebounds per game.
“Three days later after a heartbreaking loss in overtime, the competitor in me and how much I love these girls and wanted it for them, it is still heartbreaking but I am able to look back and see how much they have achieved and the relationships have always meant more to me, so to know that no matter what they will always be family to me and that they are about to move on and do bigger and better things,” Baker said.
“Their time at Eastern Florida has left an imprint on the program. I am thankful and really proud of them.”
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