Eagles down Palm Beach State to give Huddleston first win

Photo courtesy of Greg Rowland
Photo courtesy of Greg Rowland

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 7, 2019) – Tallahassee Community College led wire-to-wire but needed a 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter to put away Palm Beach State College, 80-72, in women's basketball action on Thursday evening. 

Head coach Matt Huddleston picked up his first victory with the Eagles, who improved to 1-1. Palm Beach State (1-2) has dropped two of its first three games. 

After trailing by as many as 19 points, Palm Beach State pulled within three on two different occasions, the second courtesy of Amaya Small's three-pointer with 3:34 left in the game to cut the Eagles' lead to 70-67. The Panthers then endured a near-three minute scoring drought, which coincided with ten unanswered points by Tallahassee. 

Polina Nikulochkina hit one of two from the free throw line then, following a defensive stop, hit two more freebies on the Eagles' ensuing possession to double their lead (73-67). 

After Briana Chambers scored in the paint, Keisy Villanueva hit consecutive shots, including a three-pointer from the corner, to give Tallahassee an 80-67 lead with 1:42 remaining. 

Villanueva posted her second straight double-double, finishing with a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds. 

Sedayjha Payne, who missed Saturday's season opener due to an illness, debuted with a near double-double. She had 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting and nine rebounds. 

Nikulochkina added 15 points. 

Tallahassee led 18-13 after one quarter then used a 27-17 advantage in the second to open up a 45-30 lead at the half. The Eagles wasted no time extending their lead once the third quarter began. Kyra Smith opened the scoring with a three-pointer and Olivia Eller's triple gave the Eagles a 51-32 lead at the 8:29 mark. 

Up next for Tallahassee is a visit from Florida State College at Jacksonville. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at the Bill Hebrock Eagledome.