SAINT LEO, Fla. – One free throw with five seconds on the clock put the Saint Leo University Lions (9-10, 1-8 SSC) over the top, as they claimed their first Sunshine State Conference victory with a hard fought one-point win over the Barry University (14-6, 5-4 SSC) 61-60, Saturday at the Bowman Center. The Lions have now won two consecutive games.
Sabrina Schmitt had a tremendous day on the offensive end for SLU leading the way with 14 points. She went 6-for-7 from the field including 2-for-2 from behind the three point line.
Dominique Daniels recorded her third double-double of the season registering 12 points and grabbing 11 boards, while forward Marquita Fenn chipped in 13 points of her own.
For the second straight game, the Lions raced out to 7-0 lead thanks to the sharp shooting of Monique Reynard, who scored all eight of her points in the first six minutes of the game.
Two consecutive jumpers by Fenn kept the Bucs on their heels as the Lions increased their lead to five with 11:45 to play. Her two baskets started the Lions on a 15-8 run which gave Saint Leo a 12 point advantage with 6:33 left to play. With the score 30-21 and 4:33 remaining, Saint Leo’s defense began to shut the Bucs down, allowing them to score only two points the remainder of the half. During the stretch, the Green and Gold held as much a 16 point lead and closed the half with a 14 point advantage.
The second half was a much different story, as Barry began to find its mark on the offensive end, while causing five Lions’ turnovers in just the first five minutes of the half.
Barry set the tone early with a three-point basket and followed that up by scoring 20 of the next 26 points over the following 12 minutes. In the process of the run Barry erased the large Leo lead and took a six point advantage. But with 7:25 on the clock Schmitt hit what proved to be a game-changing three point basket. The once quiet Bowman Center was now flowing with energy, as Schmitt scored the next five points, including her second three point field goal to get them within one with 5:44 to play.
The Lions offense continued to press, eventually taking a 4 point lead with 1:16 remaining.
The Lions appeared to be cruising towards their first conference victory when Barry countered with a 4-0 run to tie the game at 60 with 24 seconds to play. The Lions refused to let this game escape though. With the Lions holding for the last possession, Fenn received the ball in the lane and proceeded to go to the hoop where she was fouled with six seconds to play. She stepped to the line and drained her first attempt. Her second attempt hit the back of the rim and fell into a crowd surrounding the Lions’ basket. Neither team could gain control of the ball as time continued to tick down. Before Barry could gain possession time dwindled off the clock and the Lions wrapped-up the one point win.
Saint Leo shot 42 percent from the floor (22-for-53) for the game while converting on 5-of-12 three point baskets. Although the Lions were outscored 40-18 in the paint, SLU used outstanding bench play to stay in the game, outscoring the Bucs 51-34.
The Lions return to the court on Wednesday, February 4, as they travel to Winter Park, Fla. to take on the Rollins College Tars. Tip-off for the SSC tilt is 5:30 pm and can be heard live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.