FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In their eighth-consecutive Sunshine State Conference contest, the Saint Leo women's basketball team (10-9, 5-4 SSC), fell to the Nova Southeastern Sharks (15-4, 7-2 SSC) by a score of 78-63, Saturday afternoon from Don Taft University Center. The contest, which marked the beginning of the second half of the Lions' conference schedule, featured a career-high 31 points from junior Teresa Manigrasso.
Although the Lions' Keishara Green took the first bucket of the contest from a Chelsea Connelly assist, Nova Southeastern dominated nearly every category of the first half. Despite the Lions' lead in rebounds, the Sharks led 43-27 at halftime with nine steals and a 51.7 field goal percentage. During the first twenty minutes of play, Saint Leo's Teresa Manigrasso amassed 10 points, while Chelsea Connelly and Keishara Green totaled four rebounds apiece.
The start of the second half was almost identical to the first, with Chelsea Connelly passing to Keishara Green for an easy layup. The second half featured a livelier Lions team, however, as they were able to put together an offensive and defensive attack that allowed them to come within seven points of the home team.
Collecting an astonishing career-high 31 points on the afternoon, Manigrasso led the team with her determination and power on the court.
"Teresa was a beast… She's a fighter; she goes hard all the time," said head coach Nikki Jessee. "She will just will us to win sometimes."
On the defensive side, Keishara Green, dominated under the basket, collecting 8 rebounds, while Chelsea Connelly and Christina Granville both accumulated six.
Through 40 minutes of tough basketball, the Lions collected 11 steals and led the game with 44 rebounds compared to the Sharks' 37. Saint Leo also shot 89 percent from the free throw line.
Leading the charge for the Sharks was senior guard Meixandria Porter, who tallied 21 points on the day. Just behind Porter was junior guard Amanda Burakoski, who added 16 points to Nova's win.
The Lions get back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 6 when they travel to Boca Raton to take on the Lynn University Fighting Knights. The game, which will signal their ninth-consecutive SSC contest, is set for 5:30 p.m.