SAINT LEO, Fla. – After defeating Barry in January to snap a three-game losing streak, the women's basketball team again collected win over the Barry Buccaneers to earn their first win in the last four games. The 90-88 victory came Saturday afternoon from the Marion Bowman Center on the campus of Saint Leo University.
Before the contest began, Saint Leo head coach Nikki Jessee and her coaching staff honored seniors Chelsea Connelly and Teresa Manigrasso for reaching statistical career milestones. Earlier in the season, Connelly tallied her 600th career rebound, earning her a place in the prestigious Saint Leo 600-rebound club. In addition, just one week ago, Manigrasso scored her 1,000th career point. They were both recognized for their contributions in front of their home crowd.
In typical Sunshine State Conference fashion, both teams came out hard. Barry soon gained a small lead and held onto it for much of the first half, but Saint Leo launched an offensive attack with eight minutes to play that would shock the Barry defense. Despite trailing Barry by as much as five points in the first half, the Lions fought hard and walked into halftime with a 46-36 lead.
After the halftime period, both the Bucs and the Lions came out hungry for victory.
Bucs took the lead with 5:00 to play, and from then on it was a back and forth ballgame…. With 56 seconds to play, it was senior Chelsea Connelly who sank a jumpshot off of an assist from Chachi Guzman. Upon regaining possession of the ball, Connelly passed to junior Kinnara Lewis, allowing her the opportunity to shoot a jumper from the perimeter and give the Lions a four-point lead. With seconds ticking off the clock, the Lions brought home the 90-88 victory.
Senior Chelsea Williams led the Lions offensively in the effort, collecting a career-high 30 points. Senior Teresa Manigrasso and junior Kinnara Lewis also tallied double-digit scoring performances, with 20 and 15 points, respectively.
Defensively, senior Chelsea Connelly shined above everyone in the contest, as she pulled down 14 rebounds. Behind Connelly's effort, Williams also led all other players with nine.
As a team, the squad shot 30-65 (46 percent) in the victory, tallying 24 of 31 free throws and 22 assists. Defensively, Saint Leo earned 40 rebounds and four blocks in the effort.
The Lions will return to action on Wednesday, February 12th when they host the visiting Tampa Spartans on PINK Day. Tipoff for the Sunshine State Conference contest is set for 5:30 p.m.
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