ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s basketball team (4-1) suffered their first loss of the 2009-10 season falling to the University of Puerto Rico-Bayamon (1-4), 73-72, Saturday afternoon from the McArthur Center on the campus of Eckerd College.
In the non-conference tilt, Both Dominique Daniels and Willonda Windham were responsible for double-doubles. Windham led all scorers with 16 points while registering 10 rebounds. Daniels also had a solid contest dropping in 14 points and bringing down a game-high 11 boards. Brianna Lollis came off the bench to connect on five, three-point field goals to give her 15 points in the contest. Gekeela Clemmons also had a solid game chipping in nine points and leading the squad with two blocks. After seven steals in yesterday’s game, Brittany Carannante showed her defensive prowess once again with four steals.
Bayamon took to the court and immediately began to put pressure on the Saint Leo defense jumping out to a 10-6 lead. Daniels and senior Sierra Williams provided all of the offense for the Lions early in portion of game scoring the Lions first 12 points. However, when Bayamon stretched their lead back to three, 15-12, Lollis checked into the game and hit two consecutive three’s to give Saint Leo an 18-17 lead with 7:06 to play. Despite the slow start offensively, both teams used the final seven minutes of the half to trade baskets with Saint Leo eventually pushing their lead out to four points with two minutes to play. Bayamon did not waver though as they connected on five points in the final minute to cut the Saint Leo to two, 33-31, going into the locker room.
Out of the break, Bayamon scored early and often eventually gaining a game-high five point lead, 42-37, with 16:01 to play. The Lions pushed back and with the help of Lollis’ three-point shooting, tied the game and eventually took a two-point lead with 14:25 to play. The trading of baskets continued with over the next seven minutes with neither team obtaining more than a two point lead until Windham and Clemmons connected on back-to-back points to give SLU a four point lead with 5:47 remaining. However, seven consecutive points by Bayamon over the next minute quickly swung momentum and the lead back on the side of Puerto Rico. The Cowboys briefly surrendered the lead to the Lions with 3:14 to play. Still, Bayamon, who shot 53.3% (16-for-30) in the second half, connected on crucial shots down the stretch and did a solid job at the free throw line to help preserve the one-point win.
For the game, the Lions were outshot by the Cowboys 32.9% (23-for-70) to 46.6% (27-for-58) and was out-rebounded by the pesky UPR-Bayamon squad, 43-42. The dagger though came from the aggressive three-point shooting of the Cowboys where they connected on 8-of-21 shots (38.1%). And, although the Lions were able to force 20 turnovers, including nine steals and hit 19-of-26 shots (73.1%) from the free throw line, SLU could not match Bayamon with crucial shots down the stretch.
Saint Leo will stay on the road to open up Sunshine State Conference play from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. against the Nova Southeastern University Sharks. Tip-off for the SSC tilt is set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 5th.