SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s basketball team opened up their 2008-09 season with a 71-58 win in the first day of the 2008 Sleep Inn Classic hosted at the Marion Bowman Activities Center on Saturday evening.  The Lions shot 37 percent and outscore the opponents 43-29 in the second half to post the victory.

After the volleyball thriller earlier in the day, a transformation of the Bowman Center to basketball setup allowed the basketball ladies to take the court where they jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead over the Lady Chargers after four minutes of action.

After the lead quickly evaporated behind consecutive three-pointers by UAH, the game would become a back-and-fourth affair with seven lead changes in the remaining 16 minutes.  The Lady Chargers posted their biggest margin of the half at five-points with 11 minutes to play, but Saint Leo had the lead back just three minutes later.

Each team traded baskets in the final minute with the visitors from Alabama getting into the lockers with a one-point advantage after a layup with just 18 ticks on the clock.

After the half, the game was still up-for-grabs, with UAH holding a slim lead for the first eight minutes but a Saint Leo bucket by Melissa Guerero with 12:01 on the clock gave the Green & Gold the lead for good.  Guerero’s layup would spark the Lions on an 8-0 run to give SLU a comfortable margin.

With the lead and the momentum on Saint Leo’s side, the Lions would open the lead to as much as 14 with just a minute left to play on the way to their first win.

The win was also a bit of retribution for the Lions as they lost a heartbreaking overtime game last year to the Lady Chargers.

Junior Dominique Daniels dropped in 21 points and Guerero (14) as well as Sierra Williams (10) also scored in double-digits to help the Lions to victory.  The Lions shot 37 percent as a team and pulled down 48 rebounds, lead by Marquita Fenn’s 10, in the win.

The intangibles saw the Lions outscore UAH 21-11 in second chance points and 30-4 in points from the bench. 

Saint Leo women’s basketball will continue their season tomorrow as they face Ave Maria University in the afternoon at the final day of the 2008 verison of the Sleep Inn Classic.  The Gyrenes were trounced by Florida Southern 97-55 on Saturday to open up the Sleep Inn Classic.