Nicole Floyd managed just two steps down the hallway from her early afternoon math class.
“I just threw up everywhere,” the Wake Forest recruit said about the sudden onset of a stomach bug. “I didn’t make it to the bathroom.”
In all, Floyd estimates she lost her lunch five times Tuesday, the last bout during warmups for the Raiders’ 6A North quarterfinal game against No. 14 T.C. Williams. At that point, Stonewall Jackson assistant coach Jessica Taylor whipped out a smartphone and played a clip of Michael Jordan’s 38-point effort in game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals — since immortalized as “the flu game.”
The video “reminded me that I’m not the only one who’s had to play through it,” Floyd said.
Floyd came through with a dominant performance, scoring a game-high 21 points and recording 17 rebounds as the Raiders held off the Titans for a 51-47 win.
Stonewall (19-6) carried a 30-23 lead into halftime, but T.C. Williams’ shooting picked up in the third quarter. With 4 minutes 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Titans guard Rejoice Spivey intercepted a pass at mid-court and sprinted to the basket with a convoy of teammates in tow to give her team a 45-44 lead, its first since the first quarter.
The Raiders regained the lead on a pair of Genesis Parker free throws with 3:20 to play, but the Titans would get one shot at the win. Spivey knocked down a mid-range jumper from the corner to pull T.C. Williams (20-7) within 48-47 with 1:03 to play. After a Raiders turnover, the Titans called timeout with 11 seconds left, needing a basket for the win.
But Parker read the in-bound pass, keying off a drill the Raiders had run in practice, which focused on awareness of the mark behind her. Parker deflected the pass and had her arm stripped for a foul. She walked to the line for a crucial one-and-one attempt.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Parker said “When the crowd is loud like that, I just had to focus on my follow-through.”
She made both shots, effectively putting the game out of reach. After one final turnover, Parker was again fouled hard. But this time, the sophomore O’Connell transfer had a pep in her step as she jaunted to the line, doing a reverse crossover dribble before tossing the ball to the offical with the contest in hand.
For Floyd, the win was worth the pain of fighting through her own “flu game.”
“It was tough,” Floyd said. “But you don’t win games like this without pain. And I didn’t want to this to be the last game of our season, of my senior year.”