The Indian River State College women's basketball team traveled to Daytona State College for the annual Florida Shootout. The Shootout pairs Florida teams throughout Region 8 against each other. The River kicked off the event facing the College of Central Florida on Friday December 1st at 1:00 p.m. This is the second meeting for the Pioneers and the Patriots after a 67-61 victory over a week ago. The Pioneers then faced Hillsborough on Saturday December 2nd at 12:00 p.m.
The second meeting of Central Florida (0-8) and Indian River (4-2) found a few roster changes for both programs this game that the River struggled to adjust to. The Pioneers in the opening minutes could not find their offensive rhythm and Central Florida took advanatge with a 15-8 lead to end the first quarter. The second quarter still showed Indian Rivers defensive efforts steady and that fed into their growing offensive game as the River tied up Central Florida in the second quarter 15-15, bringing the halftime total to 30-23.
Coming out of the locker room the Pioneers held the Patriots to only 10 points as they settled into their offensive game and found themselves winning the the third quarter 12-10. The fourth quarter brought defensive errors that sent the Patriots to the line and fed into Central Florida's offensive confidence and the Pioneers found themselve down once again 28-21. The River's slow offensive start and ending defensive errors handed Central Florida their first regular season win 68-56.
"We had such a strong team defensive effort in the first half of the game," said 6th year Head Coach Diana Couch, "our team was communicating and moving as a unit and it slowed down our opponent. It was nice to see our growth, but it was short lived as we have been struggling with turning it on and off. When we wear out we just get lazy and foul. We committed a season high 21 fouls and CF went 22-31 from the freethrow line. We can't win games when we foul that much and give our opponent a third of their points for free." The Pioneers were led in scoring by returning sophomore Miracle Simon who had an IRSC career high game of 24 points and nine rebounds. Simon went 8 for 11 from the floor, 2 for 4 from the 3point line and 6 for 10 from the charity stripe. Edley Drawhorn also contributed with 12 points.
Saturdays match up for Indian River (4-3) versus Hillsborough (9-4) was a challenge for the River as the Hawks pressed and trap for 40 minutes, something the River had not faced yet. The first possession of the game the Pioneers received a shot clock violation as they could not get an offense working, it was a sign of what was to come. Five minutes passed in the opening minutes before Head Coach Diana Couch did a mass substitution that gave the Pioneers the boost they needed to tie up the game at 14-14 to end the first quarter. The second quarter was a defensive battle between the two teams that held the game to an 8-7 score, bringing the halftime score to 22-21. The third quarter the Pioneers found themselves down quickly as offensive errors plaqued the River and Hillsborough widened the gap with a 21-15 surge. Those offensive errors continued into the final quarter, but the River's defense settled in to hold the Hawks lead to 15-13. The River dropped the second game to the Hawks 58-49.
"We are only eight games into our season and we are growing," stated IRSC Coach Diana Couch. "It's been a bit of a roller coaster as we find out who we are and what direction we are going to take. It's a bit of a double edge sword that on any given night any player can show up to play as its tough to develop consistency. We just need to work hard as a whole and get over the hump. We have a solid group of ladies that once they learn to funtion together will raise the bar for the program." Edley Drawhorn and Miracle Simon both led the Pioneers in scoring with 12 points a piece.
The Pioneers drop to 4-4 on regular season play and still maintain the number one spot in the Southern Conference. Next up for the Pioneers is the Florida Southwestern Tournament in Fort Myers this Friday and Saturday.