WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Being held to their lowest point total of the season, the Saint Leo women's basketball team (5-3) fell to the Palm Beach Atlantic University Sailfish (2-5), 68-56, Monday evening from the Rubin Arena on the campus of PBA. In defeat, the Lions saw PBA connect on seven three-point field goals while the visiting Lions turned the ball over 20 times.
Offensively, Teresa Manigrasso led the way for the Green and Gold as she poured in 16 points, while West Palm Beach native Chelsea Williams added 10 more. Christina Granville chipped in nine and also led the club in rebounds with 12. Two of the Lions three losses this season have come at the hands of the Sailfish.
A seesaw opening 10 minutes, both the Lions and Sailfish exchanged leads with neither team gaining more than a point advantage. The Sailfish, however, soon pushed momentum onto their side as they rallied-off 11 consecutive points over the next 4:08 to flip a two-point Saint Leo advantage into the Lions' largest deficit at nine points with 3:35 to play. Still, a resilient Saint Leo bunch regrouped and held the Sailfish scoreless over the final 3:58, while producing an 8-0 run on the offensive end, to cut the lead to one, 23-22, going into the break. Capping the run was one of two, three-point plays by the Granville as she led the team with eight points in the opening stanza. Shooting only 26 percent in the first half, the Lions were aided by sinking 9-of-10 free throws.
The second half saw the Lions earn their first lead since 8:06 mark of the first half when Williams registered the opening basket at the 19-minute mark. A change in tactics saw the Lions begin to pierce the interior as Williams, who scored only two points in the first 20 minutes, connected on three field goals in the first five minutes of the second half. Still, lethal PBA three-point shooting, including six in the second half, helped push the Sailfish advantage to seven, 43-35, with 12 minutes to play.
With PBA holding a stable eight-point advantage, the likes of Kinnara Lewis, as well as Manigrasso and Williams assisted the Lions to trimming the lead back to five, 47-42, heading into the final media break. With the game in the balance, the Sailfish proved to be consistent from the perimeter as they extended their lead to 10 points with less than five minutes to play. A late surge by Saint Leo reduced the lead again, but Palm Beach righted the ship and maintained their running margin until the final buzzer.
Four Sailfish players finished in double-figures.
The Lions will continue regional play on Wednesday, December 19, when they travel to Valdosta, Ga. to battle the Blazers of Valdosta State University. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m.
This postgame recap is brought to you by Papa Joe's Italian Restaurant, located in Brooksville, Fla. Contact Papa Joe's at 352-799-3904 for all dine-in or catering needs.