ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Despite a 17-point effort from Brittany Carannante, the Saint Leo women’s basketball team (13-13, 6-9 SSC) dropped their fifth straight contest falling to the Eckerd College Tritons (10-14, 4-11 SSC) 69-56, Wednesday evening from the McArthur Center.
Aside from Carannante’s team-best 17 points, Dominique Daniels posted 14 points and a game-best 13 boards in the Sunshine State Conference tilt. Lauren Lee contributed with nine points and seven boards, while Sierra Williams also dropped in nine points and team-high three assists.
As a team, the Lions shot 31.4 percent (22-for-70) from the field, including 31.6 percent (6-for-19) from the three-point line. The squad only went to the free-throw line 10 times, but did out-rebound their opponents by seven, 43-36. The squad committed only 12 turnovers and forced nine steals. Also, their bench outscored the challengers 36-22. They couldn’t match the three-point fire power of the Tritons, as they connected on 10-of-22 shots. Eckerd also amassed a solid field goal percentage of 58.1 (25-for-52) and dominated the paint, outscoring the Green & Gold 36-22.
It was not the start Head Coach Chanita Olds had in mind; a 10-0 deficit to begin the game. It did not get much better over the following minutes as Eckerd eventually pushing the lead to13 points, 20-7, with 12:52 remaining. However, the three-point shooting of Carannante helped trim the lead back to seven points with 7:59 remaining.
Still, the Eckerd attack was relentless as a 7-2 rally over the next three minutes extended the margin to 35-21 by the 4:12 mark. But the Lions refused to surrender, clawing their way back into the contest by closing the half on a 13-2 run to close the lead to three. The pair of Williams and Carannante combined for nine of the 13 points over the stretch, as they entered the halftime break trailing 37-34.
The wave of momentum that Saint Leo was riding came to a immediate halt in the opening moments of the second half. The Tritons sprinted out on an 11-0 run to increase the lead to 14 points with 15:28 to play. Williams and Daniels shrunk the lead back to single digits in middle of the second half, but could never break an eight-point barrier.
The mini Lions’ charge gave way to another 7-0 run by the Tritons, ending all hopes of a potential comeback.
The wire-to-wire Eckerd win was their third straight. Saint Leo, on the other hand, fell for the fifth-straight game and for the tenth time in their last 13 contests. As far as SSC Tournament seeding, the Lions are in a tie for sixth-place with the Florida Tech Panthers. With a season sweep, Saint Leo holds the tiebreaker over the Panthers in the case that both teams finish with the same record.
The Lions return to action on Saturday, February 27 for a conference showdown with Barry University. First tip for the crucial contest is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. from the Marion Bowman Activities Center. It is also senior day, as the Lions will honor a quartet of seniors before the contest.