VALDOSTA, Ga. – Despite a career night from Gekeela Clemmons, the Saint Leo women’s basketball team (10-5) fell for the second consecutive time, losing a 73-60 non-conference battle to Valdosta State (8-7), Saturday afternoon from the P.E. Complex.
Clemmons totaled a career-high 20 points (8-for-18) against the Georgia foe, while adding five rebounds. Dominique Daniels also had a solid game, amassing 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists, in addition to playing all 40 minutes. Willonda Windham, who averaged a double-double for the week, capped the evening nine points (3-for-9) and game-best seven rebounds. Junior guard Brittany Carannante made her presence known as well, chipping in eight points to go along with five rebounds and two assists.
Clemmons and the Lions could not be stopped in the opening moments as Clemmons and Monique Reynard connected on three consecutive three-point field goals to give SLU an early 9-2 advantage.
Although the Saint Leo offense was kept quiet over the next seven minutes of action, their defense did a tremendous job of preventing the Blazers from taking the lead. However, with 10:13 left to play in the first half, Valdosta State hit a three-point basket to take the their first advantage over the Green & Gold.
It was, unfortunately, the only lead Saint Leo possessed through the next 30 minutes of action. Still, the Lions forged ahead, trading baskets with the Blazers, never letting them gain more than a five point lead over the next six minutes of regulation.
Daniels’ free throws with 4:29 left on the clock to made the score 23-21, but were the last points SLU scored that half. The Blazers closed the first period on a 10-0 run, giving them a 33-21 advantage heading into the break.
The Blazers used their rebounding advantage to spur more offensive opportunities early in the second half, pushing their lead to17, 40-23, out of the break.
Despite the lead, Windham and Clemmons scored nine of the Lions next 14 points, spearheading a charge to get them back to within seven points with 9:36 left to play.
However, every Lions’ run was met with an answer. The Blazers’ offense quickly heated up to push the advantage back to 17 with 6:52 to play. However, Carannante refused to let VSU get off the hook easily as she helped lead a late 12-2 burst to cut the led to six with 3:11 left to play. The comeback attempt was not to be as the Valdosta defense held SLU scoreless the remainder of the game, taking home a 73-60 win.
For the game, the Lions were outshot 32.8% (20-for-61) to 44.6%(25-for-56). The squad was also outrebounded, 42-37 and only held the lead one time during the game. Saint Leo has now lost two-straight for the first time this season.
The Lions will return home to pick up Sunshine State Conference action this Wednesday, January 20th against the Eckerd College Tritons. It Tip-off for the event is set for 5:30 p.m. is Wednesday night is also Bright House Networks Night so make sure to come out and support your Lions.