SAINT LEO, Fla. - Behind a game-high 17 points from Shalisa Hill, the Saint Leo women's basketball team (2-0) remained undefeated to begin the 2011-12 season as they upended Gulf South Conference opponent Valdosta State (2-2), 55-43, Saturday afternoon from the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
An 11-2 run early in the second half stamped the Lions' regional win as the team scorched the nets once again with a 50 percent shooting night.
"Today we demonstrated some team toughness," stated Jessee. "We took on another strong Gulf South opponent and did the little things necessary to prevail. The more we continue to grow as a team, the better off we'll be later in the season."
The wire-to-wire victory saw Saint Leo establish an unselfish scoring atmosphere as five different scorers led to the Lions first 12 points. However, with 4:53 left to play in the first half, Hill exploded to score eight of the Lions' final nine points to close the opening period with 26-21 lead.
The halftime break did not slow the Lions' offensive charge as Williams, Hill, and company used the first 6:28 of the second half to take a 37-25 lead.
With the consistent, off-the-bench play of Chelsea Connelly keeping the Lions' running margin at 10 over the next few moments, the Blazers made one last push. Back-to-back three-pointers by Kourtnee Williams cut the lead to four with 9:32 left in the game. A short time later, Maylisa Johnson led a 6-0 charge to cut the advantage to two with three minutes to play.
However, a three-point basket by Connelly swung momentum back on the side of the Lions as Saint Leo went on to ice the game at the free throw line.
In total, the Lions collected 18 points in the paint, while the bench out-hustled the Blazers, 15-10. The Green and Gold also forced 19 turnovers and held the visitors to eight free throw attempts.
The Lions will return to action Wednesday, November 23, when they host the University of Puerto Rico-Bayamon. Tip-off for the regional game is slated for 2:00 p.m. at the Marion Bowman Activities Center. For the latest news, information, and updates on the women's basketball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.