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Lady Commodores look to bounce back from Chipola loss vs. TCC

By Dustin Kent

Before Wednesday’s road loss to No. 3 Chipola, it had been a good long while since No. 1 Gulf Coast had experienced life on the losing side.

It had been 22 games, in fact, since the Lady Commodores had been defeated, dating back to last season when they fell to.......you guessed it, Chipola, in the Panhandle Conference finale by a single point.

Wednesday’s setback was by a mere three points in Marianna, with D’Asia Gregg’s last-second 3-point attempt rimming off as time expired.

Gulf Coast (15-1 overall, 2-1 in the conference) will look to bounce back from that rare bout of adversity on Saturday when it hosts Tallahassee (9-8, 0-3) at 2 p.m. at the Billy Harrison Field House.

Though the Eagles have yet to win a Panhandle game this season, Gulf Coast coach Roonie Scovel said you don’t have to look far back to know just how dangerous TCC can still be, citing its recovery from an 0-3 start in 2018-19 to win seven of the next nine games, including two over the Lady Commodores.

“We go in knowing full well they’ve lost some games early, but it’s Panhandle play and Gulf Coast is fortunate and unfortunate to get everybody’s best game and I expect we’ll get their best,” Scovel said. “We’ve got to be ready and move past (the Chipola game) and play Gulf Coast basketball. You need to make sure you win at home and try to steal a few games on the road, so it’s certainly important to get this win at home Saturday.”

Of course this year’s Tallahassee team isn’t quite comparable to last year’s group, which entered conference play undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the nation before losing its first three Panhandle games to top 10 teams Gulf Coast, Northwest Florida State, and Chipola - one in double overtime, the other two by four and seven points.

This year’s Eagles squad is 9-8, unranked nationally, and coming off of a home loss to an eight-loss Pensacola State team.

But with Chipola out to a commanding lead at 4-0 in the conference race and only two Panhandle teams able to qualify for the postseason, the last thing the Lady Commodores can afford is to take anyone for granted and lose a game they’re supposed to win.

“Oh absolutely, you don’t know how this thing is gonna play out,” Scovel said. “You just want to have enough wins to be one of the top two teams. If we come out of the first round (of Panhandle games) 3-1, that’s not a bad round.

“The best Northwest can do is 2-2, Chipola is 4-0 and that’s a great start. If I’m Chipola I feel pretty good about getting four wins in the first round, so it’s big for us to come out with three wins in the first round.”

For a team coming off of a national championship that has been at the top of the state and national polls since the first week of the season, being in the trail position for the conference title might seem unsatisfactory for the Lady Commodores.

However, given some of the personnel issues Gulf Coast has had this season, Scovel said she would be thrilled to be at 3-1 after Saturday’s game.

“If somebody had told me before Chipola that we’d be 15-0 with not having Nadia (Marshall), losing Laila (Grant), and not having D’Asia (Gregg) for the first semester, I’d have certainly bet the house against that,” she said. ”(Wednesday’s game) was a great battle and a nice challenge. we missed a three at the end and Chipola came out on top. That could happen again Saturday.

“We don’t want to get too crazy about (the Chipola loss). Don’t let one loss become two. But I’m pleased with how we’ve handled everything that happened in that game.”

 

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