CF upsets Tallahassee in Courtyard Classic opener

Matt Huddleston gives direction during a timeout against Central Florida
Matt Huddleston gives direction during a timeout against Central Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 21, 2019) – The College of Central Florida scored the final four points to break a 60-all tie and defeat Tallahassee Community College, 64-60, in women's basketball action on day one of the Courtyard Tallahassee Downtown/Capital Classic. 

Tallahassee (5-2) saw its five-game winning streak snapped while Central Florida improved to 6-2 on the season. 

The Eagles erased a nine-point deficit with a 10-1 run, the final two points courtesy of free throws by Polina Nikulochkina with 1:56 left to knot the score at 60. On the Patriots' ensuing possession, Haylie Holloway found Deidre Cheremond for an easy up and in to break the tie.   

Despite not scoring in the final two minutes, Tallahassee had its chances to force overtime or potentially win the game. A pair of missed free throws by Central Florida's Hannah King with 24 seconds left kept the Patriots' lead at two. Following another empty possession, Cheremond missed an opportunity to seal the victory, hitting just one of two from the line to leave Central Florida with a 63-60 lead. 

After a timeout advanced the ball into the frontcourt, Tallahassee had one final chance to tie the game but an errant pass on the inbounds gave the ball back to Central Florida and King finally sealed the win by hitting her second free throw. 

Central Florida won despite hitting just 10-of-22 free throws. However, they doubled up the Eagles on the offensive glass, 16 to 8, and scored 28 points off 27 Tallahassee turnovers. 

Tallahassee led 18-13 after the first quarter and grabbed its largest lead of the night in the opening minute of quarter two when Nikulochkina drained a three. The Eagles took a 27-24 advantage to the locker room then, following a pair of ties, used an 8-0 run, capped by Rita James' three-pointer, to grab a 39-31 lead at the halfway point of the third quarter. 

Central Florida came all the way back and took a 47-45 lead after three. 

Nikulochkina led Tallahassee with 18 points. Briana Chambers scored 13. James had nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds. 

Tallahassee will look to bounce back at 5:30 p.m. Friday when it hosts Snow (Utah) College on day two of the Classic. 

Tallahassee Community College Athletics would like to thank the Leon County Tourist Development Council and Chick-fil-A West Tennessee Street for its support of the Courtyard Tallahassee Downtown/Capitol Classic.

Courtyard by Marriott