Eastern Florida State Women’s Basketball Advances to National Tourney Final Four With 82-77 Win Over Wabash Valley
By Space Coast Daily // March 25, 2023
Eastern Florida State College will play in the semifinal game Sunday at 7 p.m. EDT
LUBBOCK, TEXAS – The Eastern Florida State College women’s basketball team has advanced to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament Final Four for the first time in program history.
The Titans held off No. 7 seed Wabash Valley 82-77 Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals to advance to Sunday’s Final Four at Rip Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas.
The game was back and forth the entire way, with nine lead changes.
“At this point in the tournament, it comes down to grit, I feel like today we came together and gritted it out. We made some silly mistakes but at the end of the day we were able to make the shots when it counted and took care of the ball,” Eastern Florida State College women’s basketball coach MJ Baker said.
After a tight first quarter saw Wabash Valley leading by three, the Titans had their best quarter of the game in the second as Isimenme Ozzy-Momodu dominated inside as the freshman scored 12 of her season-high 24 points in the game. Ozzy-Momodu also grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds in the contest.
Teammate Shadaria Smith also posted a season-high Saturday scoring 24 points with four 3-pointers and seemed to hit a big one every time the Titans needed a lift.
Wabash Valley took the lead in the fourth quarter with 4:18 remaining, but Elli Garnett made a free throw, then Smith hit a couple of free throws, and Amelia Hassett hit a basket to give the Titans a four-point lead.
Leilani Guion had five of her 17 points in the final minute of the game to put away the game.
Wabash Valley’s Brooklyn Gray had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the loss, which snapped the team’s 31-game win streak.
“Wabash is such a good scoring team that we knew we couldn’t guard them one-on-one so we went zone, they had five 3-pointers at halftime but the team adjusted really well and bought in,” Baker said.
Eastern Florida State College will play in the second semifinal Sunday at 7 p.m. EDT.
“Shadaria is a returner from the team that lost in the Elite Eight in overtime to Jones and that has sat with us and the returners all season so Shadaria was one of the players that put the team on their back and refused to lose,” Baker said.
“I love Missy, we are really close, and she does things the right way, has a great team, and we want to play the best, but Trinity Valley is really good as well.”