SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s basketball team (13-8, 6-5 SSC) completed a season-sweep of the Florida Tech Panthers (11-11, 3-8 SSC), by upending their Sunshine State Conference nemesis by the score of 54-45, Saturday afternoon from the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
Forward Dominique Daniels was the leading scorer for the Green & Gold, amassing 14 points, as well as 13 rebounds. The double-double is Daniels’ ninth of the season. The Lions also received all-around efforts from a cast of others including Brittany Carannante who dropped in nine points. The junior guard also contributed four rebounds and a game-high two blocks. Willonda Windham made her 30 minutes count, scoring seven points in addition to her seven boards. Gekeela Clemmons registered a team-high four assists, while Sierra Williams chipped in eight points.
The Lions struck on 40.0 percent of their shots (22-for-55), including 50.0 percent (14-for-28) in the second half. SLU forced Tech into 23 turnovers, while their bench outscored the Panthers, 38-21. The Lions were also able to overcome a vast rebounding disparity by pressuring Florida Tech into 14 steals. Saint Leo rounded out the evening by going 3-of-9 from behind the three-point line.
Early in the first half, the two teams exchanged baskets with Florida Tech eventually gaining a 12-7 advantage at the 12:22 mark. The Lions, however, slowly chipped away at the margin, using the next six minutes to go on a 7-2 run and tie the contest at 14 apiece. The low scoring first half reached a fever pitch when Carannante connected on a three-pointer to give the Lions their first lead since the opening moments of the game. The Lions held onto the lead over the remaining minute and went into the halftime break up 21-20. During the half, the Lions scored 11 points off of 12 Panthers’ turnovers. SLU also outscored FIT 16-8 in the paint.
Out of intermission, the Lions pushed the issue offensively as Williams led an 8-1 charge to gain a 31-22 lead with 15:46 remaining.
Florida Tech immediately answered with an 11-2 run of their own, tying the game at 33 going into the final 10 minutes of action. SLU quickly ended the momentum swing when Clemmons buried a three-point basket, sending Saint Leo on a 5-2 spurt. The Panthers countered with one last gasp tying the contest at 40 with 5:54 to play. It was not to be though as SLU tightened the screws on the defensive end forcing five turnovers and allowing FIT to connect on two field goals over the final stretch. Offensively, the Lions rallied for their biggest run of the night, a 13-0 run spearheaded by Windham and Lauren Lee. The streak pushed the final score in favor of the Lions, who have now one two of their last three contests.
Saint Leo continues their three-game home swing on Wednesday when the University of Tampa enters the Bowman Center. The Lions have revenge on their minds, however, as they suffered their worst loss of the season at the hands of the Spartans last month. Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.