VALDOSTA, Ga. – In a double overtime thriller, the Saint Leo women's basketball team fell to Valdosta State by a score of 69-64 at The Complex on the campus of Valdosta State University. The Lions overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half to force the extra periods.
Saint Leo (5-4) was led by Chelsea Williams, who had another double-double performance, this time churning out 20 points and 13 rebounds. Teresa Manigrasso contributed 15 points and added four assists. Kinnara Lewis dropped in 10 points after going 2-6 from beyond the arc. Christina Granville nearly had a double-double of her own after grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring eight points.
The Lions struggled offensively in the first half, shooting just 9-29 from the field and 0-8 from three-point territory. Valdosta State (7-2) on the other hand shot a red-hot 48 percent from the field including four shots from beyond the arc. Brittany Nelson led the Blazers' offensive attack in the first half, scoring 11 points, including going 3-3 from long range. Facing a deficit as large as 10, the Lions were able to cut Valdosta State's lead to eight points going into the break.
Valdosta State's Brooke Satterfield drained two threes in the first 58 seconds of the second half to extend the Blazers' lead to 14, their largest of the game. The Lions were able to counter with a 7-0 run over the next four minutes and trailed by just seven with 16 minutes remaining in the contest. The Blazers got the lead back to double digits with 15:36 remaining and at that point the Lions began their 10-2 run to get within two of the Blazers at 41-39.
The Lions and Blazers proceeded to trade baskets for the remainder of the ball game and with one minute remaining the Blazers held the ball and a 50-47 lead. After a few missed free throws from the Blazers and a Saint Leo timeout, Lewis tied the game with a three pointer after a beautifully executed inbounds play with just 14 seconds to on the clock. Two more Valdosta State missed free throws gave the Lions one final possession and a chance to win the game in regulation, but a Manigrasso jumper went just long as the buzzer sounded.
In overtime, Sarah Winans sank a three-pointer to give the Lions their first lead since the Lions lead 2-0 at the beginning of the contest. Leading the Blazers 55-54 with 26 seconds remaining, Valdosta State's Kourtnee Williams hit the front end of a one-and-one, tying the game and forcing a second overtime period.
The Blazers quickly gained a four-point lead over the Lions in the second overtime period and the Lions were never able to recover. Down three points with just a few ticks on the clock, Valdosta State hit two free throws to solidify their second double-overtime win in five days.
The Saint Leo women's basketball team gets back in action on Saturday, Dec. 29 when they host Ursuline in the Saint Leo Classic at 4:00 p.m. The following day the Lions will take on Trevecca Nazarene, which will also tip off at 4:00 p.m.
This postgame recap is brought to you by Papa Joe's Italian Restaurant in Brooksville, Fla.
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