NICEVILLE — Adversity usually doesn't come this early for the Northwest Florida State women's basketball program.
But there the Raiders were on Nov. 4, opening night at The Arena, losing 59-52 to Motlow State.
"We have a lot of young players, a lot of transfers who hadn't played in a while, so they were a bit shocked," NWF State head coach Tamela McCorvey said. "They didn't fight through the adversity and we lost."
Three games and three wins later, the early dose of adversity has lit a fire under the 3-1 Raiders.
McCorvey's crew, ranked 12th in the country, defeated 23rd-ranked College of Central Florida 73-60 and Sante Fe College 74-59 over the weekend in Ocala. In the sweep, NWF State's frontcourt of 6-foot-3 sophomore center Nasheema Oliver, 6-0 sophomore Britney Snowden and 6-0 freshman Jade Lewis got going with a combined 78 points on 33 of 66 shooting.
"It's a growing process," McCorvey said. "We're young so we have to get used to running and getting out and playing fast. But overall, I thought we played well over the weekend."
The learning curve from just four returning players has led to a shooting clip below 40 percent from the floor — weighed down by a cold touch from beyond the arc — and too many turnovers.
"We're struggling to execute on offense but I'm still tweaking some things," McCorvey said.
Mostly it's the issues that come with a team still developing chemistry, McCorvey said, but she said defensively the team is ahead of schedule with forcing more than 20 turnovers a night and holding foes well below 35-percent shooting.
"Defensively we're doing a good job in some areas," she said. "There have been some quarters where we're holding teams to nine, 10 points per quarter."
The Raiders will look to continue the momentum at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Arena against 24th-ranked Daytona State, a foe they split with last year.
"Daytona, they were pretty good last year and they're supposed to be pretty good this year," McCorvey said. "It should be a good challenge for us."