MELBOURNE, Fla. – Dominique Daniels posted her fifth double-double of the season and Gekeela Clemmons led all scorers with 17 points, as the Saint Leo women’s basketball team (10-3, 3-1 SSC) upended the Florida Tech Panthers (8-6, 0-3 SSC), 72-70, in Sunshine State Conference action from the Clemente Center, Saturday afternoon.
In posting her third double-double in the past four games, Daniels scored 13 points (4-for-9) and added a team-high 10 rebounds. Clemmons, on the other hand, matched a career-best 17 points (7-for-10), while contributing a team-high four assists. Senior guard Sierra Williams amassed 12 points (5-for-9) and added six rebounds, while Brittany Carannante and Willonda Windham chipped in 10 and eight points, respectively.
As a team, the Lions brass shot 50.9% (29-for-57) from the field and 50.0% (5-for-10) from behind the three-point-line. Each team registered one block and seven steals apiece in the conference showdown.
In the first half, the two squads started the contest sluggish, combining for four points and six turnovers during the first three minutes of play. Despite the start, however, Saint Leo trailed only once during the first 20 minutes and began to find the shooters touch on the back end of the first half. With the Lions clinging to a one point lead and 7:25 left to play, SLU tallied 10 straight points to give them a 25-14 lead with 5:19 left to play.
Leading the offensive outburst for the Green & Gold was the backcourt duo of Williams and Clemmons, as they combined for seven of the 10 points, helping extend the Lions’ lead to 11. It was the largest advantage either team had during the contest.
Moments after, Florida Tech responded to the Lions run with a 7-0 rally of their own to cut the lead back down to four, 25-21, with 3:09 left to play. Despite the Panthers’ charge, the Lions buckled down defensively and maintained a 32-27 advantage heading into the halftime break.
Out of the break, Williams and the Lions immediately took to the offensive end again, increasing their lead to seven, 34-27. Florida Tech had other intentions though, as their offense began to chip away at the Lions’ lead going on a 15-5 run. The streak was culminated with a three-point-basket at the 15:11 mark by Florida Tech’s Ashton McClairen to give Tech their first advantage since early in the first half.
The lead was short lived as a reenergized Saint Leo squad scored three-baskets, including a pivotal three-pointer by Carannante, helping SLU regain a four-point lead. Inside, Daniels began control the paint for the Lions as scored three points to extend the lead to 52-44 with 11:22 to play.
From there, Saint Leo did a solid job of not letting the Panthers back into the contest, as they held a running margin of eight over the next 10 minutes. The Panthers proved to have one more gasp during the final minute, shrinking the six-point lead to two in the final seconds. However, the push was not enough as Saint Leo locked down their fourth win in their past five games. SLU has now won two-straight contests over Florida Tech.
The Lions return to the friendly confines of the Bowman Center on Wednesday, January 13th for an SSC clash with rival Florida Southern. Tip-off for the conference tilt is set for 5:30 p.m.