SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo Lions women's basketball team (5-2) defeated the visiting No. 17 Nova Southeastern Sharks (5-1), 73-69, in their first conference contest of the year, Saturday afternoon from the Marion Bowman Activities Center. The Lions' win signaled Nova Southeastern's first loss of the season.
Spearheading the Lions' offense during the contest was junior forward Chelsea Williams, who collected her third double-double of the year and helped lead a 51-36 team rebound advantage over the Sharks.
The first points of the game came after just one minute of play, when the Sharks' Danielle Robinson positioned herself under the basket and scored an easy layup to put the Sharks on the board. Throughout the next 20 minutes, the lead never changed hands, and at one point, the Sharks led by a large margin of 9.
Although the first half ended with a score of 40-31 in favor of the Sharks, the Lions played solidly on both offense and defense. Despite 18 points by the Sharks' Danielle Robinson, Saint Leo made 100 percent of shots from the free throw line, and scored 16 of their 25 points from inside the paint. Chelsea Williams collected 15 points in just 15 minutes of play, while both Williams and Keishara Green notched 6 rebounds.
The second half featured a more energetic Lions team as they brought the deficit back down to one point, and the atmosphere in the Bowman Center changed dramatically. With just 9:42 left to go, Chelsea Connelly passed to Green, who connected with the net to sink a layup and put the Lions ahead by one. Seconds later, a layup by Green and a jumpshot by Willams ignited the Lions offense and spurred an attack that kept them in the lead for the remainder of the game.
With just sixty seconds to play, the Sharks made an offensive run and the Lions' lead fell to just one, but Saint Leo would not be beat. After numerous fouls, free throws, and timeouts, the game clock eventually dwindled down to its final seconds, and the Lions took the game.
Highlighting the Lions' lineup was Chelsea Williams, who collected a double-double for the afternoon with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore Kinnara Lewis also notched 21 points, as she shot 5 for 7 from the three-point line, while Green and Connelly collected 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.
The Lions will return to action on Monday, Dec. 10 when they travel to Palm Beach Atlantic University. Game time is slated for 6 p.m.
This postgame recap is brought to you by Papa Joe's Italian Restaurant, located in Brooksville, Fla. Contact Papa Joe's at 352-799-3904 for all dine-in or catering needs.