SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s basketball team, led by 19 Gekeela Clemmons’ points, overcame as much as a 16-point deficit to defeat the Eckerd College Tritons, 60-58, in Sunshine State Conference play, Wednesday evening from the Bowman Center.
Clemmons, who is coming off a career 20-point effort against Valdosta State, collected 19 points while shooting 7-for-17 from the field. Dominique Daniels locked up her seventh double-double of the evening, posting 10 points and tying a season-best 15 rebounds. Willonda Windham poured in 11 points and eight rebounds, while Brittany Carannante chipped in 11 points, six rebounds, a team-high four steals.
As a team, the Lions shot 46.4% from the floor in the second half and 37.7% (23-for-61) for the game. The Lions also out-rebounded the Tritons, 45-34, forced 12 steals, and out-blocked Eckerd 5-to-1. SLU capped their night by going 9-for-13 from the free-throw-line.
The Lions opened the game scoring the first two points of the contest. However, the Tritons immediately took to the basket, scoring the next five two baskets to take a 5-2 lead. Carannante and Windham kept the Lions point-for-point with Eckerd through the early portions. Despite the offense from the pair, Eckerd took their 12-8 advantage and expanded it on the efforts of a 11-2 first half run to hand them a 23-10 lead with only 8:23 remaining.
Saint Leo stayed resilient though, chipping away at the 13-point advantage over the next six minutes. The perimeter shooting of Carannante and the off-the-bench production of Lollis allowed SLU to bring the lead back to single digits, eight, with 2:14 left to play.
A last minute lay-up by Kiara Bradley cut the lead to nine, 35-26, going into the break.
Out of the break, the Lions continued to face an aggressive and hot-shooting Tritons’ team, as the visitor’s from St. Petersburg pushed their advantage to 16 in the first three minutes of the half.
Still, Saint Leo refused to go away as they countered the early second half run with an 11-0 streak of their own. During the stretch, the Lions owned the inside paint scoring eight of their 11 points on layups, four of which were by Clemmons.
With the lead cut to five, 46-41, and 11:54 remaining in the game, the Lions were not done. SLU produced air tight defense as they continued to shoot the ball at a blistering pace.
The Green & Gold’s hard work was rewarded as Clemmons connected on a three-point basket to cut the lead to one. Soon after, a pair of strong defensive stands resulted in a two steals. The first steal at the 2:16 mark resulted in Clemmons taking the ball coast to coast to give the Lions their first lead since the opening moments of the game.
The basket demoralized the Tritons as Windham padded the lead with a layup moments later and Carannante struck on four straight free throws over the course of the final 30 seconds to give Saint Leo a hard-fought come-from-behind SSC win.
The squad looks to continue their winning ways this Saturday, January 23rd from Winter Park, Fla. as they take on the Rollins Tars in SSC action.