BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Saint Leo women's basketball team showed real heart on Saturday afternoon as they refused to give up as they took down Benedict College, 93-84, in overtime at the Courtyard Holiday Classic hosted by Lynn University.
Despite trailing Benedict, a 2016 NCAA South Regional Finalist, for 33:46 minutes of regulation time, the Lions used a 16-8 fourth quarter to force the Tigers into overtime. Senior Gabby Ortiz provided Saint Leo a spark off the bench, as she knocked down back-to-back threes to cut the Tigers lead to just two points. From there it was the Lions defense that sealed the game. Asia Royster closed out regulation with a block on Benedict's final possession to force the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Lions saw senior Chelsy Springs score the first six points, and bring the Lions to a lead they would never relinquish.
Final Score: Saint Leo topped Benedict, 93-84, in overtime Location: de Hoernle Sports & Cultural Center | Boca Raton, Fla. Records: Saint Leo 4-5 | Benedict 6-6
How It Happened
1Q |Ragen Dotson came out firing for the Lions, scoring the team's first eight points within the first three minutes of the game. However, it was Destiny Betts for the Tigers who put on a performance, registering a double-double in the first quarter with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Lions led until the 4:36 mark, but the Tigers took the lead at 4:03. | BC 24-20
2Q | Benedict opened the period on a 10-0 run, before Nikira Hooks went on an 8-2 run of her own, cutting the lead to a 36-28 BC lead. Gina Brierley added two free throws following, to bring it down to just six point gap. A huge three from Jackie Layng gave the momentum to the Lions, and then a shot-clock turnover gave possession back to the Lions. Layng hit her second three of the period to keep the Lions in it. However, being in foul trouble early, saw the Tigers head to the line often, taking 12 free throws in the period, and making eight. | BC 50-38
3Q | The Lions opened the third by outscoring the Tigers 14-7, but Benedict continued to counter. Five straight points by Madelin Lang cut the Tigers lead to just six points. The Lions outscored Benedict, 22-18, in the third, but six turnovers haunted the Lions. Springs added a team-best seven points in the period. | BC 68-60
4Q | Benedict scored the first basket of the period at the 7:30 mark and the Lions first basket of the period came at the 6:05 mark of the fourth by Lang. A timely three by Gabby Ortiz cut the lead to just five, 70-65, and the following possession was a steal by Lang, which resulted in Ortiz's second consecutive three to cut the score to 70-68. The Lions held Benedict scoreless since the 3:36 mark, while slowly scraping away. A steal by Lang found the Lions with possession with 00:40 on the clock. An offensive rebound by Asia Royster was crucial as she then found Springs, who sunk the tying lay-up. It was Royster again on Benedict's final possession who blocked the Tigers' shot to send it into overtime. | 76-76
OT | Springs opened the period with back-to-back lay-ups to give the Lions their first lead since the first period. Benedict then scored their first basket at the 4:13 mark in OT, which was their first basket since the 3:36 mark in the fourth. The Lions commanded the overtime period, and outscored BC, 17-8, in overtime to take the game. | Saint Leo 93-84
Beyond the Box
The Lions 93 points are the most scored by the program since Feb. 22, 2014, when they scored 95 against Lynn.
Springs' 27 points and 11 rebounds resulted in her second double-double of the season.
Madelin Lang recorded a career-high nine assists, adding nine points, five steals, and five rebounds.
Nikira Hooks added 18 points, seven rebounds, four steals and an assist, while Ragen Dotson added 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
Benedict's Destiny Betts scored 30 points and added 32 rebounds in 41 minutes of action. Her 32 rebounds is a NCAA (all divisions and in both men's and women's) season high.
Coach's Quotes "What a huge win for Saint Leo. To come back against a program who went to the South Regional Final last year is some feat for sure. Our bench was incredible offensively and defensively. Gabby Ortiz hit two huge threes to bring us back to life in the second half while Jackie Layng single-handedly kept the game close in the first half. Asia Royster also made a huge, huge play at the end of regulation to send the game to OT."
"I challenged Springs, Hooks and Dotson as much as humanly possible at half time and they responded big time. I am so proud to see them play well. Chelsy was unstoppable in the fourth and overtime while the other two ladies played very consistently for us throughout."
"Madelin Lang had nine assists and teamed with Kamryn Kimmel and Gina Brierley on the top of our man and zone presses to help us go on a nice run to close out regulation. We just want to get better each and every day. Today we took a nice big step in a very positive direction."
Up Next Saint Leo takes on Miles in the second game of the Courtyard Holiday Classic at Lynn University at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18.
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