No. 1 seed Eastern Florida State College defeats Indian River State College 59-55
NICEVILLE, FLORIDA – For the first time since 2018 and just the fifth time in program history, the Eastern Florida State College women’s basketball team will play for the Region VIII Tournament championship on Saturday.
Eastern Florida State College, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, defeated Indian River State College 59-55 in the semifinals behind some big shots and a tough defensive effort.
“So stoked for our team, they gritted it out, inch by inch and they did it today, we didn’t play our best but we gave it everything we had and sometimes you don’t have your best but they fought all game,” Eastern Florida State College women’s basketball coach MJ Baker said.
No. 4 Indian River State College came out fast and led for most of the first half, but Leilani Guion hit a basket to tie the game 22-22 in the second quarter, then the Titans had a brief one-point lead before the Pioneers finished the first half with a basket and a 25-23 lead.
The third quarter saw Guion make eight straight points, giving Eastern Florida State College a 37-31 lead with 4:44 left in the third. From there, the defense really made things hard on Indian River State College.
The Pioneers would cut the lead to one at the start of the fourth quarter, but Shadaria Smith hit a big basket and then L’or Eyeba Mputu scored followed by another basket by Smith.
Elli Garnett would hit a couple of key free throws in the late stages to help secure the win.
The win was No. 30 on the season for the women’s team, which is the most in program history.
Guion finished with 17 points, while L’or Eyeba Mputu had 11 points and six rebounds in the game and Madlena Irena Gerke had 10 points. Elli Garnett grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds.
The Titans will face Northwest Florida State College in the Region VIII Tournament Championship Game Saturday at 6 p.m. EDT. Northwest Florida State College, the No. 2 seed at 25-3, defeated No. 6 Florida Southwestern 69-60 in the first semifinal of the day.
The two met earlier in the season, with the Titans picking up the 62-53 win on Dec. 2 at Daytona State College.