KISSIMMEE, Fla.—The magical run through the Sunshine State Conference tournament ended for the Saint Leo women's basketball team with a loss to Rollins College (21-8) in the championship game on Sunday afternoon by a score of 74-59.
Saint Leo (14-15) stayed within striking distance of the Tars, but was never able to gain that final push to tie the game or take the lead. The Lions cut the Rollins' lead to one in the second half with the possession, but one would be as close as the Lions could get.
Saint Leo was led by Teresa Manigrasso and Chelsea Connelly—who were both named to the All-Tournament Team following the tournament. Manigrasso led the team in scoring with 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field. Connelly scored nine points and grabbed double digit rebounds for the third game this tournament. Also giving the Lions a huge offensive contribution was Kinnara Lewis. Lewis totaled 17 points and went 4-of-7 from behind the arc.
In the opening half Saint Leo shot 50 percent from the field compared to the Tars' 45 percent, but the Tars were red-hot from three, nailing seven attempts in the first half. Saint Leo trailed 37-22 with just over two minutes remaining in the opening period but the Lions would go on a 9-0 run to end the first half and go into the break trailing by just six points.
The Lions did carry over momentum from the end of the first half into the second and continued to cut into the Rollins' lead. With 16:03 Lewis dropped in a long ball to decrease the Lions' deficit to just one point. That one point would be the closest the Lions could get as the Tars continued to make shots. Both teams shot 33 percent from the field in the second half, but Rollins made 15 free throws compared to just seven for the Lions.
Saint Leo did hold the shooting advantage for the game—but the Tars' shooting from behind the arc and from the charity stripe proved to be the difference.
Saint Leo outscored Rollins 10-8 in second-chance points, but Rollins took nearly every other team statistical category, including the turnover margin. Saint Leo turned the ball over 17 times compared to just seven times for Rollins.
The Lions will now start preparing for the 2013-14 season. To stay updated in the offeseason be sure to 'like' us on Facebook here.