Lions Unable to Hold onto Lead in 76-67 Loss to No. 8 Nova Southeastern

Lions Unable to Hold onto Lead in 76-67 Loss to No. 8 Nova Southeastern

Connelly Earns Double-Double as Lions Close Out Regular Season

SAINT LEO, Fla. – Owning a seven point advantage at the half, and holding onto the lead throughout the majority of the second half, the Saint Leo University women's basketball team was unable to keep No. 8 Nova Southeastern at bay, falling to the Sharks by a score of 76-67 on Saturday afternoon in the Marion Bowman Activities Center.

The Lions rode their lead for 14 minutes, but relinquished their run with six minutes to go in the game and were never able to gain back the advantage as the game came to a close.  With the loss, the Lions close out their regular season slate with a record of 18-8, and 9-7 in Sunshine State Conference play.  The Sharks advance their mark to 22-4, and 12-4 in the SSC.

Chelsea Connelly posted a double-double on the day, tallying 10 points and pulling down 17 boards, including 14 defensive rebounds, marking the most rebounds Nova Southeastern has seen a single opposing player notch against them this entire season.

Four Lions in total scored in double-figures, including Connelly, as Melissa Jackson and Chelsea Williams each scored 12, and Kinnara Lewis added 11 points of her own.  Chachi Guzman led the team in assists, dishing out seven on the afternoon.

The Sharks saw four players tally double-digit figures, led by Jasmine Wilkins with a game high 16.  Danielle Robinson and Taylor Buie scored 13 apiece, while Jessica Russi scored 11.

In a first half that saw two lead changes, and the score tied eight times, the Lions fought hard through the first period to enter into the half with a seven point lead, 34-27.  The Green and Gold entered into the second half and extended their advantage to as much as nine with 16:07 remaining, but a trey from Buie at the 15:56 mark ignited a run that slowly chipped away at the Lions' lead until a layup from Buie knotted the score at 50-50 with 11:08 remaining.

It was a back and forth battle over the ensuing five minutes, and with a driving layup from Robinson with 5:39 to go in the game, the nationally-ranked Sharks took over with a two point lead that they would extend to as much as nine points to close out the contest.

The Lions led the game in points scored in the paint, 40-30, but the Sharks held the edge in points off of turnovers, 20-18, second chance points, 14-12, and points off the bench, 34-22.  Saint Leo shot 69 percent from the free-throw line, while shooting 40 percent from the field and just 12 percent from long range.

The Saint Leo women's basketball team returns to action in the first round of the Sunshine State Conference Basketball Tournament, entering as the No. 4 seed.  The Lions will square up against seventh-seed Lynn on Wednesday, March 5, taking on the Fighting Knights at 2:30 p.m. at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla.

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