Lions Bid Farwell to Five Seniors and Coach Olds
SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women's basketball team (9-18, 1-15 SSC), despite holding as much as a five point lead in the second half, fell to the Barry University Buccaneers (12-13, 5-10 SSC), 62-49, Saturday afternoon from a emotion-filled Marion Bowman Activities Center.
With the Lions not earning a berth into the Sunshine State Conference Tournament, Saturday marked the final time that five seniors, including Kiara Bradley, Brittany Carannante, Lauren Lee, Jamarra Robinson, and Joanna Bussa, would don the Lions' jersey, and Head Coach Chanita Olds would pace the sidelines for the Saint Leo.
The afternoon saw the ceremonial senior day presentation as each of the five soon-to-be graduates received a gift in addition to a brief presentation. In a bit of a twist, however, the Saint Leo University Community was also able to honor long time Coach, Chanita Olds, with an emotional 'thank you', as she gets ready to depart her position.
The game itself saw Chelsea Williams record a team-best 11 points, while senior Brittany Carannante and freshman Artigua Kilpatrick chipped in with nine points. Senior Jamarra Robinson posted a team-best seven boards.
The score did not reflect the intensity of the showdown as the lead changed hands on 14 different occasions.
Unfortunately for Lions' fans, the second half defensive stand by the Buccaneers proved to be the difference as they held Saint Leo to just 17 points over the final 20 minutes.
An inspired Lions' bunch came out of the gates going tick-for-tac with the talented Buccaneers' team, never trailing by more than five over the first 12 minutes of the game.
Trailing by two, Carannante gave the Lions their first lead of the game as she netted her only three point basket of the half to make the score 18-17 with 9:24 to play.
In fact, the shot sparked a 6-0 rally by the Lions as they expanded their lead to four thanks to a Carannante layup with seven minutes to play in the half.
Momentum appeared to be shifting on the side of the Green & Gold. That was until Barry's Kisa Duncan stroked back-to-back three's within a minute of each other to reclaim the four-point lead.
The flopping of leads soon followed as the game neared the halftime intermission. Sophomore Elyse Clyburn stroked a three to make it a one point game, and along with free throws from Kilpatrick, regained the small advantage until the final minute. The lead switched two more times over that course, before settling on a tie at the break.
Out of halftime, it was Shanna Suttington for NSU who pounced on the three-point attempt to take a three-point lead.
Now facing a three-point deficit, the Lions' Williams took control by overwhelming the interior of the Bucs' defense as she paced Saint Leo with six of the next eight points to take a game-high five point lead.
Barry refused to allow Saint Leo any bigger of a lead as they began a run of their own. Unfortunately, this Buccaneers stretch was the deciding factor of the game as they did not allow Saint Leo to score over the final seven minutes. In the meantime, Barry closed the contest on a 13-0 run eventually dooming the Lions and erasing any sign on a comeback.
The Lions were also edged in the rebounding department, 45-41, while committing three more turnovers than their counterparts, 18-15. In addition, Barry used a 17 second chance points to aid them in victory.
Saint Leo did set a season-high with blocks in a game with 10, falling just one short of the original record of 11 set in 2005.