By: Nicole Gunter and James Phillips
After coming off of a dominant six game winning streak, the Pensacola State Lady Pirates suffered their first in-conference hiccup of the year losing a tight game with rival Northwest Florida State College (71-67).
“They did a better job of being able to control the tempo and that’s normally what we specialize in,” said, Lady Pirates Head Coach, Penny Jones.
“We started a little late today, but we still kept fighting,” said Xana Dove, Guard, Lady Pirates.
Northwest Florida State College came into the game boasting a record of 13-2 (0-0 in conference play) and was able to take down our Lady Pirates, pushing them to 16-2 (1-1 in conference play). This is still a very impressive record as the Lady Pirates hope to be able to push for a conference, state and even national championship.
“Especially when on the road, we have to be able to make free throws and take care of the ball.
They did a better job of being able to control the tempo and that’s normally what we specialize in,” said Coach Jones.
With twelve conference games left to play, it is very possible we could see a run by the Lady Pirates that could, at the least, get a tie for the Panhandle Conference Championship.
NWFS is currently the Lady Pirates’ biggest obstacle. With the way the conference is set up, the Lady Pirates will have to play NWFS twice more this season so if they are able to win the rest of their games, they will be the undisputed conference champions.
With the dominant wins we have seen by our Lady Pirates these past couple of weeks, such as a 100-50 victory over Patrick Henry Community College, an 87-56 win over Chattanooga Community College and a 100-89 win over Tallahassee Community College all while averaging a whopping 86 points per game this season while holding their opponents to a measly 62 points per game (for reference, those statistics are almost identical to Duke’s men’s team statistics), winning the rest of the seasons games could be a very possible goal.
With a couple of losses to teams ranked ahead of us and a few solid wins by the Lady Pirates, there is still a very solid possibility that they come out ranked number one in the Panhandle Conference which leaves a host of post season possibilities as mentioned before.
Before tonight’s game, the Pensacola State Lady Pirates were ranked 3rd overall in the NJCAA Region 8 Women’s Basketball Coach’s Poll receiving 131 votes (that is two places higher than their last ranking).
The Lady Pirates’ next two games will be against Chipola and Gulf Coast State College, the two teams in Region 8 ranked higher than Pensacola State, making for not only a good test for our coaches and players but a good indication of the potential of our Lady Pirates and how far they could go in conference play and possibly post season play.
“We have a week off, we gotta show up and we gotta bring it, especially on the road, work on turnovers, rebounds and keeping the ball,” said Coach Jones, as they look ahead to playing the top team in the nation.
Photographs By: Nicole Gunter