TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 1, 2016) – Talk about a first impression.
Playing host to nationally-ranked Daytona State College in its 2016-17 season opener, Region 8 No. 3 Tallahassee Community College soared past the NJCAA No. 24/Region 8 No. 6 Falcons, 84-62, in front of lively opening night crowd at the Bill Hebrock Eagledome.
Tallahassee head coach Franqua "Q" Bedell spread minutes around generously on Tuesday. Eight different players logged at least 18 minutes – a ninth played 12. The result: contributions up and down the roster and enough defensive pressure to force 36 Daytona State turnovers.
"I thought our defensive intensity and execution was very good," said Bedell. "And we had a lot of players contribute. That's what we strive for – to be well-rounded and to be deep.
Eight different players scored for the Eagles, led by sophomore guard Lawriell Wilson, who had 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting. She also had five rebounds, five assists and five of Tallahassee's 25 steals.
A pair of freshman making their collegiate debut – high school teammates Japonica James and Jas Hill – joined Wilson in double-figures with 18 and 14 points, respectively. James and Hill led Leflore High School to an undefeated season and the Alabama Class 6A State Championship in 2016.
Tallahassee jumped out to 25-16 lead after the first quarter and extended the margin to 16 by the half, 42-26. The Eagles were never seriously threatened after the intermission and led by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.
Despite the 22-point win, Bedell identified areas where improvement is needed if the Eagles are going to contend in a conference that boasts the last two national champions.
"Proud of the victory. It was a great first impression, but we have to do a better job on the boards on both ends, and we have to improve our half court defense."
Tallahassee (1-0) will hit the road for games at Indian River State College and Miami Dade College on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Monday's game in Ft. Pierce, Fla., begins at 5:30 p.m.