Northwest Florida State races past Harford, 93-77
LUBBOCK, Texas – Acey Powell and Bride Kennedy-Hopoate led five Northwest Florida State players with 16 points apiece, and the Raiders’ athleticism and defense proved to be too much to handle for Harford in a 93-77 victory in the opening round of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship at the Rip Griffin Center.
Tia Sanders added 15 points for the Raiders (22-11), who advance to face No. 6 seed Trinity Valley Community College at 7 p.m. CDT Wednesday. The Raiders shot 47.2 percent (34 of 72) from the field and outrebounded Harford (26-3) 48-36, but head coach Tamela McCorvey wasn’t completely satisfied with her team’s performance in its tournament opener.
“Not our best game, but I think it was first-game jitters so tomorrow we’ve got to come out and play better,” McCorvey said. “We gave up 77 point and you can’t give up 77 points and expect to win too many more games. We’ve got to defend better. Offensively we can put the ball in the hole. Defense is our big thing right now.”
Shami Goodman and Brittney Snowden added 10 points each for the Raiders, who used a 31-point second quarter to take control of the game and make the Fighting Owls chase them the rest of the way.
Daisa Harris led all scorers with 23 points while Mia Fitts added 19 for Harford, which shot 40.6 percent (26 of 64) from the field but was just 8 of 22 from 3-point range and was outscored in the paint 42-30. Darra Walker and Janessa Fauntroy added 12 points each in the loss.
“I felt like the girls played well,” Harford coach Mike Seney said. “We’re not used to coming from behind much and I thought it was tough when we got down by about 18. The girls just really couldn’t sustain a run and keep them from scoring, and that was the ballgame.”
Unlike most of the other games in the tournament to this point, both Northwest Florida and Harford tried wear each other out with an up-tempo game on both ends. And while it led to one of the highest-scoring halves first halves of the tournament to this point, it wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that either team was able to get the advantage.
At first, it looked like it was going to be Harford when the Owls went on a 7-0 run, highlighted by five points from Fitts, to take a 29-27 lead. Back and forth the teams went until Harris drained a 3-pointer to make it a 36-33 Harford lead.
But the Raiders responded with a huge run to end the half, outscoring the Owls 17-3 over the final 4:51 of the second quarter.
Northwest Florida shot 48.6 percent (18 of 37) from the field, most of those coming in the paint or on the break. Harford, meanwhile, shot a respectable 35.3 percent (12 of 34), but it wasn’t enough to keep pace.
Sanders led the Raiders in the first half with 11 points and Kennedy-Hopoate added 10. Harris led all scorers with 15 first-half points for Harford while Fitts had 11.
Halftime didn’t slow the Raiders down, either. They came out for the third quarter and quickly went on a 10-4 run to extend their lead to 60-43 with 6:40 left in the period, and Harford spent the rest of the game in futility playing catch-up.