SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Lions semifinal opponent, Barry University, is a familiar challenger for Saint Leo, meeting on two other occasions this season. The Lions are 0-for-2 against the Bucs this season, but Head Coach Chanita Olds is hoping the third time is a charm.
In the two games this season, the Lions have lost by a combined five points. First, SLU fell 59-57 at the Health and Sports Center on the campus of Barry University, before falling 60-57 at the Bowman Center last Saturday. In both contests, second half contests by Saint Leo came up just short. This time, however, the winner will advance to the semifinals of the SSC Tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on Saturday. Leading the way for the Lions is Dominique Daniels. In two games against Barry, the senior forward is averaging 17.5 PPG. and posting 7.5 RPG, both of which are team highs. Daniels is also doing a spectacular job from the line going 9-for-11. Unfortunately, she is the only Lion averaging in double figures. Still, the squad has received solid, all-around performances from the likes of Brittany Carannante and Willonda Windham. Carannante is averaging 9.5 PPG. and 4.0 RPG, on top of two steals and a team-high five assists during the series. Windham, on the other hand, is posting 7.5 PPG. and grabbing 5.5 boards per game. Gekeela Clemmons and Brianna Lollis are chipping in 6.5 and 5.0 PPG., respectively.
As a team, the Lions are averaging 57.0 PPG. and are shooting 37.6 percent from the field. They have only hit on 30.0 percent (8-for-24) of their three-point attempts, but are shooting 77.4 percent (24-for-31) from the free throw line. Saint Leo also looks to cut down on their turnovers as they have committed 29 in two games. The Green & Gold are proving to be relentless on the boards though as they are out-rebounding the Bucs, 74-68.
For the Buccaneers, their offense is centered around the dynamic abilities of Mariesa Greene. In two games against the Lions this season, the senior has posted 20 and 18 points, respectively. She has also been the leading rebounder for Barry, combining for 23 rebounds. Christina Thompson has totaled 26 points in the SSC contests, including a game high 14 points last Saturday. Shanna Suttington is also a scoring threat for the Buccaneers, as she rounded-out a trio of double-figures in last Saturday’s matchup. They are averaging 59.5 PPG. and shooting almost 40 percent from the floor. They have hit on 15-of-43 three-pointers and have forced 17 steals.
The Lions are still trying to find their winning ways, as they have lost six consecutive games heading into the conference tournament. The Lions also trail in the series 32-14 and have dropped seven of their last eight games to the Bucs. Over the final six games, Saint Leo is averaging 56.8 PPG. and are shooting just 33.8 percent. Meanwhile, opponents are shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from behind the three-point-line. The Lions are being out-rebounded 252-222, and have been out-blocked, 26-14. The majority of the problems stem from slow starts, as the Lions have been outscored by 50 points in the first half during the run. Meanwhile, Barry enters the single elimination contest having won two-straight, but losers of three of their last five games.
Coach Olds’ Keys To Success…
“I continue to preach being able to start quick. We need to be able to connect on our open shots and continue to do a good job on the boards.” She continued, “As a team, we need to limit turnovers and trust each other on the court. If we play to the best of our abilities than I feel we can accomplish anything.”
About Saint Leo…
The Lions finished the season with a 13-14 overall record and a 6-10 conference mark. The team also finds themselves in a tough predicament having lost 8 of 12 road games this year. Daniels continues to be the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, posting a 12.9 PPG and 8.9 RPG average. She is also the best free throw shooter on the team, connecting on 102-of-131 shots. Windham is posting 11.0 PPG. and is the team's second leading rebounder grabbing 7.1 RPG. Gekeela Clemmons is scoring at 10.0 PPG clip and has connected on 30-of-84 three-point field goals. Aside from her 8.5 PPG. average, Carannante leads the team with 58 steals and 22 blocks. Sierra Williams is averaging 7.7 points-per-contest and Lauren Lee and Brianna Lollis are posting 5.4 and 4.8 PPG. The squad is averaging 63.9 PPG. and have amassed nearly 1,100 rebounds on the year.
Probable Starters…Saint Leo
|Dominique Daniels||12.9||8.9||77.9% FT's (102-for-131)|
|Willonda Windham||11.0||7.1||44.2 FG%|
|Gekeela Clemmons||10.0||3.5||35.7 (3-pt fg%)|
|Brittany Carannante||8.5||3.7||58 Steals, 22 Blocks|
|Sierra Williams||7.7||3.9||42 Assists|
Despite dropping three of their last four, the Buccaneers enter the game 19-8 on the season and clinched the No. 3 seed in the tournament with a 10-6 conference mark. Mariesa Greene is the leading scorer for the Bucs, averaging 19.1 PPG . She is also averaging 10.8 rebounds per game and posting a team-high 33 blocks. Shanna Suttington has amassed a 9.6 PPG. average, while leading the team in assists with 82. Christina Thompson and Tilde Ahlin are averaging 7.1 and 7.2 PPG., respectively. As a team, Barry is averaging just a shade less than 60 PPG. and is out-rebounding its opponents by 30. The Bucs are also outscoring their opponents 824-to-713 in the second half of games.
|Christina Thompson||7.1||4.0||42 Steals, 20 Blk's|
|Mariesa Greene||19.1||10.8||33 Blocks, 39 Steals|
|Tilde Ahlin||7.2||4.0||17 Stl's|
|Shanna Suttington||9.6||2.6||83.1 FT%, 82 Assists|
|Tara O'Malley||2.2||1.3||24 Stl's|