Purifoy, GC roll past NWF State
Posted Feb 18, 2017 at 9:53 PM
By Dustin Kent747-5065 | @PCNHDustinKentdkent@pcnh.com
PANAMA CITY — With Northwest Florida State daring Gulf Coast point guard Ty Purifoy to shoot the ball early in Saturday night's game, the diminutive sophomore struggled to make the Lady Raiders pay for the strategy in the first quarter.
Fortunately for the top-ranked Lady Commodores, those struggles didn't last long. Purifoy caught fire in the second quarter and scored a season-high 22 points while making four 3-pointers to lift Gulf Coast to an 85-63 victory.
With the win, the Lady Commodores (26-2 overall, 9-2 in the Panhandle Conference) clinched at least a share of the league title. The Lady Raiders dropped to 1-9 in the conference and 14-11 overall.
Taylor Emery scored a game-high 25 points for Gulf Coast, with Shaterrika O'Neal adding 11, Raven Fox 10, and Jhaleiya Dunlap eight. Jade Lewis led Northwest Florida State with 17 points, followed by Britney Snowden with
14, and Nashemma Oliver and Mercedez Claybrone with 13 each.
But it was the play of Purifoy, who had scored just 38 points total and made only one 3-pointer in the Lady Commodores' previous 10 Panhandle games, that proved to be the difference for Gulf Coast.
"Well they left her wide open pretty much the whole game," Gulf Coast coach Roonie Scovel said. "Early on she struggled to find it, but we said, 'you've got to keep shooting.' We can't let them play like that. We can't play four
on five. She found it and she executed and performed."
Despite Purifoy's early struggles, Gulf Coast built a double-digit lead in the first quarter thanks to excellent defense and hot shooting from her teammates, with Emery knocking in a three and Fox another to make it 20-10.
Fox made another three to start the second quarter, with Purifoy nailing back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 35-16 with 3:13 until halftime. The Lady Raiders charged back with a 12-2 run to get back to within single digits after a three from Lewis made it 37-28. But Purifoy answered with her third three of the half to push the lead back to 12.
Northwest Florida State started punishing the Lady Commodores inside early in the second half, with the 6-foot-3 Oliver scoring nine points in the paint in the third quarter and Snowden adding four more to help the Lady Raiders cut the deficit to five at 54-49 with 1:42 left in the third.
Gulf Coast finished the quarter with a flurry, however, as Dunlap scored inside, Shayla Bennett hit a three, and
Emery made a 3-pointer and was fouled, converting her second four-point play of the game to make it 63-52.
Purifoy nailed her fourth 3-pointer of the night to put the Lady Commodores up 69-54, then later followed a basket by Emery with a driving layup to make it 77-58 with 4:17 to play. After a basket by O'Neal, Purifoy delivered a no-look pass in transition to Dunlap for an easy layup to make it 81-60 with 2:44 remaining.
Gulf Coast will finish its conference schedule Wednesday at Pensacola, while Northwest Florida State will host Chipola on Wednesday. The Lady Commodores can clinch the outright conference championship with a win Wednesday night or with a Chipola loss in either of its final two games.
After a season that included major injuries to three of their key players, including a season-ending ACL injury for starting guard Amanda Paschal, Scovel said a conference championship is extra special for her team.
"These kids have had to endure a lot with Amanda out and Raven (Fox) out and Fatou (Diagne) getting hurt," she said. "They've had to go through a lot of emotional issues and they've been so resilient. The reward to be Panhandle Conference champions is pretty amazing. We're going to put a banner up there whether it says 'champion' or 'co-champion.' Either way, they're going to get a banner."
NORTHWEST FLORIDA STATE (63)
Oliver 6 1-2 13, Bolasingh 0 0-0 0, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Young 3 0- 6, Lee 0 0-0 0, Claybrone 4 4-6 13, Snowden 6 2-3 14, Lewis 6 0-0 17. Totals: 25 7-11 63.
GULF COAST (85)
Fox 2 4-4 10, Purifoy 7 4-4 22, Emery 7 8-8 25, O'Neal 5 1-2 11, Bennett 3 0-0 7, Castro 1 0-0 2, Dunlap 3 2-4 8, Edwards 0 0-0 0. Totals: 28 19-22 85.
Northwest; 10 20 22 11 — 63
Gulf Coast; 20 20 23 22 — 85
3-point field goals: Gulf Coast 10 (Purifoy 4, Emery 3, Fox 2, Bennett), Northwest 6 (Lewis 5, Claybrone). Total fouls: Northwest 19, Gulf Coast 16. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.