MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Saint Leo University women’s basketball team (7-6, 0-4 SSC) dropped its fifth consecutive contest and fourth straight Sunshine State Conference game with a 80-62 defeat at the hands of the Florida Tech Panthers (12-2, 2-2 SSC) Saturday afternoon at the Clemente Center in Melbourne, Fla.
The Lions struggled in the first half shooting only 27 percent (9-for-33) while not registering a three point basket (0-for-7). The Panthers took advantage of the missed Lions’ opportunities and built a 45-23 halftime lead. Despite a revitalized Lions’ team in the second half, the early deficit proved to be too large to over come as the team fell for the fifth time in six games.
Foul trouble and turnovers took the Lions out of their game early, as a trio of Lions, two of which were starters, had two or more fouls in the first ten minutes of the contest. The fouls put the Panthers at the line 18 times where they converted 16 of those attempts. Saint Leo also had their offensive production slowed by 10 giveaways resulting in 15 Panthers’ points.
A Natalie Gadreau jumper cut the Panther lead to 12 with 5:40 remaining but that was as close as the Lions got. The team only scored four points the final minutes of the half, two of which were by Sierra Williams. Williams was the sparkplug for the Lions during the period, using the first twenty minutes to score all seven of her points. Still, the lack of scoring allowed Florida Tech to push their lead from 12 to 22 points heading into the break.
After a two point output in the first half, Marquita Fenn exploded for 21 points. Her efforts sparked a comeback and cut the Panther lead from 28 to 18 with 11:57 remaining in the game.
Still, it was not enough as the Lions could not maintain the momentum and saw the Panthers push the lead back up to 26. The Lions refused to leave the Clemente Center quietly though, scoring 12 of the final eight points of the game.
Saint Leo rebounded to shoot 48 percent (13-for-27) in the second half. However, it was not enough as Florida Tech shot 41 percent for the game (23-for-56). SLU was also outrebounded 44-to-37 and only shot 15 percent from the three point line (2-for-13).
Fenn had an outstanding game leading all scorers with 23 points (10-for-15) while collecting six rebounds. Dominique Daniels was the only other Lion able to crack double-digits scoring 13 points and grabbing a team high nine rebounds.
The Lions continue SSC road action this Wednesday, January 14 at the Bob Martinez Sports Center as they take on the University of Tampa Spartans. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 5:30 pm.