Miami Dade College’s women’s basketball team was eliminated from the Florida College System Activities Association State Tournament after losing in the semifinal game, 71-64, to Gulf Coast State College on March 6 in Niceville, Florida.
“I feel we were as good, if not better than the other two teams,” said freshman forward Alise Markova. “In the end, it’s always one winner. Unfortunately, this time it wasn’t us.”
The Lady Sharks, who were ranked ninth in the state, won their opening round game versus Santa Fe College, 87-82, on March 5. The victory was boosted by a superb performance from sophomore point guard Daliyah Brown. She scored 41 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and delivered seven assists in that game.
However, their luck ended at the semifinals.
They were ahead most of the game, and took a 37-30 lead going into halftime; however, their fate was sealed in the last five minutes of action. The score was tied at 62 with four minutes and 55 seconds left to play, before the Commodore’s took control, outscoring the Lady Sharks 9-2 down the stretch.
The Lady Sharks finished the season with a 20-12 record and a rocky 7-5 mark in conference play. They oftentimes struggled with consistency, following up wins with losses. Miami Dade College started the season strong with a 6-2 record in November, but faded in December, going 3-4 during that stretch. After the winter break, they went 11-6 from January to March. It was the first time in three years that the Lady Sharks failed to capture the Southern Conference title.
Led by strong performances from Brown and freshman forward Nazlah Morrow, the team boasted impressive numbers this season. The Lady Sharks team ranked first in the state in three-point and free-throw percentages with 36.1% and 74% respectively. They also ranked third in rebounds (49.1) and blocks per game (5.5).
“I’m proud of my team and what we have accomplished,” Morrow said. “We played strong and we played together. That’s all I can ever ask of my team.”
Several players were given top honors after the tournament. Brown (First in the nation with 26.6 points per game, 9.1 RPG), Morrow (14.5 PPG, 9.6 RPG) and freshman point guard Ahmari Young (10.9 PPG) were selected to the FCSAA All-Southern Conference First Team.
Three freshmen—guard Anija Payne (9.3 RPG), forward Alise Markova (6 PPG, 5.7 RPG) and center Larissa Abreu (8.2 PPG)—also received All-Southern Conference Second Team awards.
Brown, who was named Southern Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, will leave a big offensive void to fill next season. She received a scholarship to play at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Head Women’s Basketball Coach Susan Summons believes the loss at the State Tournament will serve as motivation for next season.
“This is a talented group of freshmen,” Summons said. “These players will work harder, be more hungry and motivated to get back to and be in the State Championship finals.”