December 7, 2013

Lions Knock Off No. 16 Rollins in SSC Opener, 66-57

WINTER PARK, Fla. – In their first Sunshine State Conference matchup of 2013-14, the Saint Leo women's basketball team improved to 9-0 on the year with a win over the No. 16 Rollins College Tars (8-2, 0-1 SSC).  The Lions defeated the Tars by a 66-57 score, Saturday afternoon from the Warden Arena on the campus of Rollins College.

In addition to extending the Lions' undefeated record for the best start in program history, the victory signaled head coach Nikki Jessee's 100th career win. The success came over her alma mater and against her college coach, Glenn Wilkes, Jr.

The Tars took an early lead in the first half, but an offensive surge near the end of the period gave Saint Leo the momentum they needed. With 4:22 left on the clock in the first half, Saint Leo took a lead that they would not lose throughout the remainder of the contest.

After the halftime period, Rollins came out ready to attack, but the Lions stood their ground. Though the lead never changed hands, the Tars came within one point of the Lions a total of three times in the second half.

Though senior Teresa Manigrasso led all scorers with 16 points, it truly was an offensive team effort by the Lions to bring home the victory. In addition to Manigrasso, four more Lions shot within five points of each other: Chelsea Williams (13 pts.), Chachi Guzman (10 pts.), Keishara Green (9 pts.), and Ashlin Gross (8 pts.). Manigrasso also collected four steals in the win.

As a team, the Lions shot 22-26 (85 percent) from the free throw line and tallied a total of 44 rebounds. In addition, Saint Leo outshot Rollins 20-58 to 18-63 and forced 16 Tars' turnovers.

The Saint Leo women's basketball team will get back in action when they make the cross-country trip to Anchorage, Alaska to compete in the AT&T Hoops Classic Tournament. The first contest of the tournament is set for December 20 at 5:00 p.m., when the Lions take on Brevard College.

For more on the Lions' basketball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.