SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Lions regular season is beginning to wind down. Fortunately for the Lions, they appear to be stumbling upon their winning ways again having won two of their last three games. 

The Lions, led by Dominique Daniels ninth double-double of the year, secured a 54-45 win over SSC foe Florida Tech last Saturday. Daniels led the way with a team-high 14 points and 13 rebounds. Brittany Carannante dropped in nine points to go along with four rebounds and a game-high two blocks. Willonda Windham made her 30 minutes count, scoring seven points in addition to her seven boards. Gekeela Clemmons registered a team-high four assists and Sierra Williams chipped in eight points.

The win gave Saint Leo a 13-8 overall record and pushed them above the .500 mark in the SSC. Now with the Panthers’ contest behind them, SLU can now turn their full attention to a rival that handed them their worst loss of the season, the University of Tampa Spartans. Including a 78-42 loss this season, the Lions have now lost four-straight games to the Spartans. SLU currently trails 64-13 all-time in the series. Their last win came on February 13, 2008 by the overtime score of 74-73.

The Lions and Spartans are set to tangle on Wednesday, February, 10th at 5:30 p.m. on the Bowman Center hardwood.

About Saint Leo...
The Lions are going back to their inside game, something that led them to great success in the early parts of 2009-10. In their last three contests, the Lions inside duo of Daniels and center Willonda Windham have spearheaded the winning charge. Windham is averaging 13.0 ppg. while Daniels continues to hover around her season average of 12.3 ppg. Daniels has also become fierce in the rebounding department lately, vacuuming up 12.3 rpg.  Sierra Williams has also provided that veteran boost they have been looking for. She has controlled the guard spot and leads the team with an 86.7 free-throw percentage. Gekeela Clemmons leads the team in assists with eight and continues to deliver around the basket, averaging 10.3 ppg. Brittany Carannante’s point production may have slipped but it is not stopping her effort on the defensive end as she leads the team in blocks and steals over the stretch. As a team, the Lions are average 60.3 ppg. and are holding opponents to 60.0 ppg and a 15.7 shooting percentage from behind the three-point line. The most impressive line of the night though comes in the turnover department where the Lions have committed two less than their opponents, 50-48. Defensively, the squad has forced 23 steals and is out-blocking their opponents 8-to-6.

In the Lions last meeting with the Spartans, the Green & Gold were out-paced by the Spartans, 78-42. In the game the Spartans connected on 11 three-point shots
The Lions, on the other hand, connected on only 29.3 percent of their shots, while going to the free-throw line only four times. They were also out-rebounded, 48-34.  Monique Reynard and Clemmons came off the bench to score 11 points each. Carannante also had a good game, contributing team-highs in blocks, assists, and steals.

Coach Olds’ Keys to Success…
“We need to get off to a better start this time, we need to be able to defend the perimeter better and do a better job on the boards.” Olds went on to say, “We have been doing a better job at limiting turnovers and that must continue to have success. Also, we can’t allow clean looks at the basket. Our defense needs to play quick and smart and if we do the little things correctly, we will be hard to beat.”

Probable Starters…

F, #50, Dominique Daniels13.39.378.0% FT's (78-for-100), 10 Blk's
C, #13, Willonda Windham11.87.545.7 FG% 
G, #3 Kiara Bradley1.21.411 Stl's
G, #9, Brittany Carannante9.03.349 Stl's, 19 Blocks
G, #24, Sierra Williams7.74.033 Assists 25 Stl's

About Tampa…
The Spartans enter the contest No.14 in the latest top-25 poll with a record of 20-2. They also possess one of the top performers in the SSC in Tiara Cook. Cook is currenty 4th in the SSC in scoring averaging 16.7 ppg. She has also forced a team-best 35 steals and is responsible for 27 blocks. The low-post dominance of Cook has also put her at the top of the rebounding department, averaging 8.8 rpg. Gianna Messina is not to be outdone as has put up nearly 15 ppg. on the season. She is shooting 80 percent (72-for-90) from the free-throw line. She is second on the team in assists with 72 and is averaging 6.1 rpg. Taja Green is the third Spartan to average in double figures on the season, putting up 10.7 ppg. Caitlyn Mitryk is as solid as they come, averaging 7.9 ppg. on top of her team-high 74 assists and 35 blocks. 

That group of players, along with a steady cast of other, caused SLU havoc in their last encounter. Green posted a game-high 20 points, while Cook registered a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Catriana Messina was deadly from behind the arc, connecting on 3-of-4 shots for 15 points. Mitryk capped the offensive explosion with 11 points and eight assists.

As a team, Tampa shot 41.8 percent from the field (28-for-67) and 52.4 from behind the three-point-line (11-for-21). Also,the team could not miss from the charity stripe, knocking down 11-of-12 shots.

On the season, the Spartans are averaging just a tick under 70 ppg. They are hitting 76.1% (353-464) of their free throw shots, and have committed 57 less turnovers than their opponents. The most telling stat, however is the Spartans dominance on the boards as they have out-rebounded their opponents 876-749, a +127 turnover margin.

Probable Starters...

#24 Tiara Cook16.88.835 Stl's, 46.5 FG% (117-253)
#8 Gianna Messina14.86.132 Stl's, 74 Assists, 80.0 FT% (72-90)
#40 Taja Green10.75.744.4 FG% (84-189), 23 Stl's
#12 Caitlyn Mitryk7.95.537.0 3-point FG% (30-81), 74 Assists, 29 Stl's, 35 Blk's
#20 Angela Guiu5.32.142.0 3-point FG% (34-81)