SAINT LEO, Fla. – Scoring a season-high 74 points, the Saint Leo women's basketball team (7-14, 1-10 SSC) toppled Sunshine State Conference rival the University of Tampa, 74-68, Wednesday evening from the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
Shooting 46 percent (26-of-56) for the night, the Lions solidified their first conference victory of the season behind four double-digit scorers, including a career-high 24 points (10-of-14) from Chelsea Williams.
Freshmen Kinnara Lewis punctuated the night with a season-best 15 points, while Sarah Winans added 10 points. Sophomore Shalisa Hill was solid all-around again as she chipped in 13 points and added a team-best eight rebounds.
Attempting to control the paint from the onset, the Lions consistently fed the inside duo of Williams and Keishara Green as their strong interior play gave the Lions a 20-15 lead with 9:49 to play in the opening stanza. With the Lions' perimeter shooting also beginning to heat up, the visitors slowly turned the tide on the Lions, overcoming as much as a six-point deficit to go into the halftime break up, 35-33.
The Lions were not to be denied in the second half, however, as a Williams' layup immediately tied the game at 35. In fact, the Lions rallied-off 13 of the next 18 points, including a pair of three's from Hill and Winans, to give them a 48-40 lead with 13:03 to play. As is typical with this rivalry, the Spartans countered with an 11-5 run to take a short-lived lead. The Lions responded at the free throw line as four consecutive makes at the charity stripe gave them the lead for good. The 15-2 Lions' run propelled the group to a commanding 11-point lead with 3:21 remaining. The Spartans best efforts over the final minutes were turned back as Saint Leo earned the six-point win.
Overall, Saint Leo finished with 30 points in the paint, and tied a season-high with eight three-pointers. The squad also edged the Spartans in the rebounding department, 35-30, and forced Tampa into 19 giveaways.
The Lions will return to action on Saturday, February 11, when they travel to Winter Park, Fla. to battle the nationally-ranked Rollins College Tars at the Warden Arena. Opening tip for the SSC clash is set for 2 p.m.
For more on the Saint Leo women's basketball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.