By Nathan Deen
Published on January 30, 2008
It was an uphill battle for the PJC women’s basketball team as they fought adversity all game long in their heartbreaking 54-52 loss to Tallahassee Community College. The Lady Pirates left everything on the court Wednesday night but to no avail. After a back-and-forth second half, it all came down to the final minute.
With 55 seconds left, TCC point guard Daniela Nopuente hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Eagles a 52-50 lead. PJC tied the game with two free throws from forward Nikel White. TCC set up their offense on the last possession and forward LaQuinta Gardner tipped in the missed attempt by Nopuente with :2.2 left to win the game.
The Lady Pirates had to play through serious foul trouble in the first half as they were hit with 14 personal fouls and one technical foul. Guards Kristian Diggs, Victoria Hunt, and Sierra Highgate each tallied three personal fouls before the ten-minute mark in the first half. After Diggs picked up her third personal with 12:11 remaining, a six-minute scoring drought by the Lady Pirates ensued. Tallahassee also went on a 14-0 run during the drought.
With their best players out of the game, PJC head coach Chanda Rigby called upon her bench players to not let the game get out of hand. By showing mental toughness and playing physical defense, the Lady Pirates were able to keep the margin to just eight at halftime.
PJC was not called for as many fouls as they were in the first half and each of the guards in foul trouble were able to play physically without fouling out. The second half was a tight game with numerous lead changes. Although they had a chance to win the game, Rigby said that the defeat was ultimately due to poor free throw shooting. PJC shot only 47 percent from the free throw line while Tallahassee shot 88 percent.
Victoria Hunt led PJC with 14 points. Angelese Hunter had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Shamar Harris led Tallahassee with 15 points followed by Nopuente with 14 points.
PJC falls to 4-5 in the conference while Tallahassee improves to 5-3. The Lady Pirates will take on conference juggernaut Gulf Coast Community College at home on Saturday. Tip-off at 5:30 p.m.