MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s basketball team (11-7, 4-4 SSC), led by 19 points from senior forward Dominique Daniels, were upended by the Barry University Buccaneers (13-5, 5-3 SSC) 59-57, Wednesday evening from the Health and Sports Center in an SSC clash.
Outside of Daniels’ 19-point outing, she also led the team in rebounds with seven. Brittany Carannante scored nine points while going 2-for-5 from behind the three-point line. Brianna Lollis also made her mark from behind the three-point line, scoring nine points on 3-of-7 shooting. Willonda Windham amassed six points, while freshman Melissa Schmidt chipped in five points. Sierra Williams also grabbed six rebounds, while Gekeela Clemmons and Kiara Bradley three assists apiece.
As a team, the Lions shot a solid 40.8 percent from the floor (20-for-49), but could not match the Bucs proficiency from behind the three-point-line as they shot 47.1 percent (8-for-17). Saint Leo was responsible for 18 turnovers and were out-rebounded, 31-28. The Lions did do a solid job at the line though, connecting on 12-of-15 attempts (80.0%).
A well evened attack got Saint Leo going in the right direction in the first half, as four early points by Windham gave the Lions an early 10-7 lead. However, after three minutes of scoreless basketball, Barry began to connect on shots in the lane. Soon after, Christina Thompson delivered on three-straight three pointers, capping the 23-7 run. Still, with a 30-17 lead and 7:39 remaining in the first period the Lions showed no signs of quitting.
The Lions, who have battled back from multiple deficits recently, began to chip away at the Bucs’ 13-point advantage. Daniels took control of the lane and single handedly tallied six of the Lions next eight points before Lollis struck a three-point basket with five seconds left to trim the lead to eight, 34-26, going into the break.
Out of intermission both teams exchanged three-point baskets keeping the deficit at eight. However, one of the country’s top scorers, Mariesa Greene, ignited a 9-2 run with 17:24 left in regulation to push Barry to its biggest lead of the game, 16. It did not stop the Lions though as they began to crash boards and limit the Buccaneers’ chances over the next six minutes. Methodically, Saint Leo got back into the race as Daniels once again led a 10-2 charge to cut the margin to eight, 50-42, with 9:24 to play. Over the stretch, Daniels connected on seven of SLU’s 10 points, including five through layups.
Slowly, Barry extended the lead back to 12 thanks to the inside play of Greene. Nonetheless, with 6:19 left to play, the Lions made one final charge in attempts to claim victory. Lollis’ three-pointer, slashed the lead to eight and jumpstarted an 8-1 run, shrinking the lead to three, 57-54 with 3:29 remaining in regular play. During the final three minutes of the game, the Lions did not score from the field but despite the lack of offense, SLU suffocated Barry with air-tight defense while the combination of Daniels and Carannante converted on 5-of-6 free throws. In the final five minutes of the contest, SLU held Barry to just two points. Still, it was not to be for the Lions on this night as they could not convert a basket in the final 11 seconds, falling in a heartbreaker, 59-57.
With the first half of conference play over, the Lions must now gear-up for round two. Up next for the Green & Gold is a home meeting with Nova Southeastern University on Saturday, January 30th. Tip-off for the event is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Earlier this season the Lions upset the Sharks in overtime on their home court, 69-66.