SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo comeback came up just short as the Lions were topped by the University of Tampa, 68-63 in overtime. Saint Leo (12-12, 7-7) trailed the entire second half until a three-pointer tied the game with under a minute to play. Tampa improves their record to 15-8 and 5-8 in SSC play.
Teresa Manigrasso led all scorers in the game with 24 points—her second straight game scoring 20-plus points. Two Lions came close to having double-doubles on the night—with Keishara Green scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds and Chelsea Connelly dropping in eight points while pulling down 13 rebounds. Elise Clyburn tallied 11 points in the overtime loss.
The first half was a back and forth battle between the two teams, and despite a game-high eight opening half points from Manigrasso, Saint Leo went into the half trailing 28-25. The Lions shot just 27 percent in the opening period compared to the Spartans' 44 percent, but Saint Leo was able to convert Tampa turnovers into 10 points.
In the first few minutes of the second half Tampa extended their three-point lead to seven but it was right then that Manigrasso found her hot hand—scoring 10 points over the next six minutes.
After a technical foul by Tampa coach Tom Jessee the Lions cut the Tampa lead to three with just over eight minutes remaining in the contest.
Down seven points with under four minutes to play, Green rattled off four consecutive points to cut the Tampa lead to 54-51 with just under two minutes on the clock, and with 50 seconds remaining Manigrasso dropped in a three-pointer to tie the game at 57 apiece.
The Lions had one final possession with a chance to win with three seconds left, but a half court heave from Clyburn came up just short.
More than the first three minutes of overtime did not see a point scored, but following two Tampa free throws, Green converted on an old fashioned three point play to take a 60-59 lead—their first lead since midway through the first half.
The Spartans responded with seven straight points to take a five-point lead and hit their free throws in the waning seconds to even the season series with the Lions.
Saint Leo gets back in action on Saturday, Feb. 23 when they travel to Winter Park to take on the Rollins College Tars. Tipoff for that game is set for 2:00 p.m.
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