SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University women’s basketball team (10-14, 2-12 SSC) fell to the University of Tampa (19-5, 9-4 SSC) in Sunshine State Conference action Wednesday evening from the Bowman Center, 70-52. The loss spoiled a tremendous effort by the Lions’ bench in which they outscored the Spartans 25-7.

But the night also looked to bring awareness to one of the most common and dangerous diseases effecting women today, breast cancer. The theme for the event, “Assisting in the Fight Against Breast Cancer,” served as the basis for the entire game. Fans from both sides were asked to pledge money for each assist that the Lions and Spartans recorded during this game.  At the conclusion of the game, the money was to be combined and donated to the Kay Yow Foundation in each squads name. Kay Yow was the long-time coach of North Carolina State who recently passed after losing her battle with disease.

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Onto the game, seniors Nichole Tyler and Melissa Guerero led SLU on the night as the only two Lions to score in double-digits. Tyler scored 11 points while going 3-for-8 from behind the three point line and Guerero chipped in 10 points going 5-for-7 from the field. 

Sierra Williams was one point and two rebounds shy of her first double-double of the year, as she closed the night with nine points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Whitley Washington put the finishing touches on a good night with eight points and an all-important six assists.

The first half was a nip and tuck battle, as the two teams traded points for the first 14 minutes. But with the score tied at 20, the Spartans used the next two minutes to go on a 8-0 and go up 28-20 with 4:51 left in the half. SLU refused to quit though, as they scored 10 of the next 12 points behind two three-point baskets Washington to tie the game a 30 with 1:55 remaining. 

Tampa withstood the Saint Leo run and went on to score six of the final eight points to put Tampa up 36-32 at the break.

Unfortunately for the Lions, Tampa continued to build upon their lead eventually having it grow to 13 just three minutes into the half.

After the lead grew to 14, SLU fought back one more time, going on a 5-0 run to cut the lead back to single digits with 9:51 left in the half.

Despite the Lions effort, the Spartans eventually regained their lead and extended it to 19 entering into the final five minutes of action.

But with the score 67-48, the Lions could only convert on two baskets during the minutes of the game securing the 18-point Tampa win.

The two teams also combined to assist on 33 baskets throughout the duration of the ballgame.

The Spartans were red-hot from the floor in the game, shooting 51 percent (25-for-49) the game. SLU, on the other hand, threw up 20 more shots but made three fewer, as Saint Leo shot 32 percent. The two teams were just about even in rebounding, but the Spartans outscored the Lions 25-18 in the paint