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EFSC women’s basketball team back in Elite Eight for second straight year

EFSC women's basketball defeated Walter's State College on Thursday March 23, 2023.
EFSC women's basketball defeated Walter's State College on Thursday March 23, 2023.

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For the second straight season, the Eastern Florida State College women’s basketball team will play in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament Elite Eight on Saturday at Rip Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University in Texas.

Eastern Florida State College will play Wabash Valley College at 4 p.m. in the quarterfinals Saturday. The Titans are the No. 2 seed in the tournament and opened with a 73-45 victory over No. 18 Walters State on Thursday and are in the quarterfinals for the second straight season.

Wabash Valley, the No. 7 seed from Mount Carmel, IL, held on in a close contest against upset-minded No. 23 Cochise, winning 60-57.

Both the Titans and Wabash Valley have just one loss this season and are riding long winning streaks heading into the matchup.

Wabash Valley is leading the country in scoring, averaging 103 points per game led by Shaulana Wagner who averages 20 points per game and had 21 points against Cochise on Thursday night. Eastern Florida State College is one of the top defensive teams in the country, holding opponents to 48.6 points per game and is also one of the top 15 offenses in the country, averaging 78.3 points per game.

The duo of Isimenme Ozzy-Momodu and L’or Eyeba Mputu had big games for the Titans who outrebounded Walters State 22-9 in the first half and 47-27 for the game. Ozzy-Momodu led the offensive attack with 16 points while Mputu added 14 in the win. Teammate Elli Garnett led the team with nine rebounds to go with 13 points and seven assists.

"This team is built with strength in numbers," Eastern Florida State College women’s basketball coach MJ Baker said. "We built this team that not one person is bigger than the other and we talk about being a symphony, the different parts and it comes together and is a beautiful thing as long as we work together. Our goal in this is to come in and be a talented team that plays together."

They accomplished that Thursday night as seven players had at least five points and seven had at least four rebounds.

The Titans have now won 16 games in a row and are a school-record 32-1 as the team looks to go further than last season when they lost in the quarterfinals. Last season was the first time in program history the Titans have played in the national tournament.

Wabash Valley is also looking to do something they have not done in their past 10 appearances. Wabash Valley has already snapped a two-year streak of going home early by advancing to the quarterfinals. They lost in the quarterfinals in their only appearance in 2018.

Saturday’s game will tip off at 4 p.m. EDT and will be shown live on the NJCAA Network for $10.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: EFSC women’s basketball team back in Elite Eight for second straight year