OCALA, Fla. (March 7, 2018) – Unofficially, the postseason began February 13 for Tallahassee Community College's women's basketball team.
When the Eagles took the floor that evening, they were staring at a three-game deficit with three to play in the race for the Panhandle Conference's No. 2 seed. A loss or one victory by Northwest Florida State College would have knocked the Eagles out of contention for the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Basketball Tournament and left their national tournament hopes in limbo.
But Northwest Florida State lost its last three games while Tallahassee closed with three straight wins, including one at Northwest Florida State on February 21, to force a one-game playoff with the Raiders, which the Eagles won on a neutral floor in Marianna to punch its ticket to March Madness.
So when Tallahassee (23-5) takes the floor in Ocala against Mid-Florida Conference Champion Daytona State College (20-9) at 8 p.m. Thursday, it will, arguably, be in a comfort zone facing a win-or-go-home scenario. The winner advances to Friday's 8 p.m. semifinal against either Miami Dade College or Eastern Florida State College.
For Tallahassee, however, its late-season surge also has the Eagles squarely in contention for a berth in NJCAA Tournament.
Sixteen district champions, including the one who will hoist the state of Florida's championship trophy on Saturday, will earn an automatic bid to Lubbock, Texas, later this month. The final eight teams in the 24-team field will earn at-large bids.
A 23-5 record, No. 7 national ranking and momentum are working in the Eagles' favor heading into Thursday's quarterfinal round match-up with the Falcons.
Like Tallahassee, Daytona State is riding a four-game winning streak and won eight of its final ten games to claim the MFC crown, finishing one game in front of Santa Fe College.
All tournament games can be seen live on the FCSAA Sports YouTube Channel.
Tallahassee vs. Daytona State Capsule
- Tip-off: 8 p.m.
- Watch: FCSAA Sports YouTube Channel
- Records: Tallahassee (23-5), Daytona State (20-9)
- Rankings: Tallahassee (NJCAA No. 7, Region 8 No. 3), Daytona State (Region 8 No. 8)
- Head-to-head: Tallahassee leads 11-10
- At neutral site: Tallahassee leads 8-5
- Streak: 1 by Tallahassee
- Last meeting: Tallahassee 84, Daytona State 62 (11/1/16 at Tallahassee, Fla.)
- Noteworthy: Tallahassee and Daytona State have only met once in the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Tournament. The Eagles beat the Falcons, 76-67, on March 10, 2001, to win the state championship and advance to the NJCAA Tournament.