JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s basketball team (8-2), led by forward Dominique Daniels third double-double of the season, helped downed the Edward Waters Tigers 81-68, Wednesday evening from the EWC Gym.
Daniels, with her 23 points (6-for-12) and 15 rebounds, led the way for the Lions in their non-conference contest with the Tigers. Fellow post player Willonda Windham was also a force to be reckoned with, totaling 19 points (7-for-11) and snatching 12 rebounds. The double-double is Windham’s fourth of the year. Saint Leo guard Brittany Carannante remained hot from the field scoring 11 points (3-for-6) while grabbing nine rebounds and adding five assists and three steals. Lauren Lee rounded out the Lions’ quartet of double-figure scorers with 10 points (2-for-8) and eight rebounds. Brianna Lollis chipped in eight points while going 2-for-4 from behind the three-point-line.
Edward Waters tried to stifle the powerful Lions’ offense by implementing a full court press from the opening tip. And, despite an early 9-7 deficit, SLU converted an 11-2 run over a four minute span midway through the first half into a 18-11 lead. Windham posted six of the Lions’ points during the stretch.
The shooting of Daniels and Carannante helped increase the SLU lead to 10 with 8:34 left to play in the first half. The Tigers refused to quit though as their aggressive defense forced multiple turnovers. As a result the large Lions’ lead was grind down to two points with 4:36 to play.
The Lions, however, used the final three minutes of the half to increase their lead to the 13 points headed into the halftime break. During the stretch, Daniels scored six points while going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free –throw-line, as the SLU ended the half on a 13-2 run.
Out of the break, the Daniels and the Lions continued to dominate on the offensive end. Daniels sunk the first two baskets of the period to increase their lead to a game-high 17 points, mark they would hit four more times before the night was over.
Saint Leo kept their running lead of 13 for the remainder of the night, only allowing EWC to break the double-figure advantage on a few occasions late in the contest thanks to their turnover-causing defense.
At the end of the night though, Daniels and Windham iced the game with their overpowering inside play as the duo combined for 42 points and pushed. The Lions have now won three straight contests and continue to improve upon of their best starts in program history.
For the game, Saint Leo shot 39.3% (22-for-56) from the field while out-rebounding the Tigers 57-32. The Lions also went to the free throw line 49 times, making 33 of those attempts (67.9%). The team also registered 15 steals to add to their four blocks.
The win closes out a fantastic start for the Lions in 2009. The squad now looks to continue their winning ways in 2010 as they open Sunshine State Conference action against Lynn University on Saturday, January 2nd. Tip-off for the game is set for 2:00 p.m. from the Bowman Center.