Chachi Guzman pours in a career-high 35 points in the loss
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Saint Leo University women's basketball team got a career-high 35 points from Chachi Guzman, and 11 points apiece from Teresa Manigrasso and Kinnara Lewis, but that wasn't enough as the Lions dropped a tough 80-74 decision to top-seeded University of Tampa in the semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference tournament at the Silver Spurs Arena.
The loss snaps Saint Leo's six-game winning streak, and drops the Lions to 20-9 on the year. Saint Leo will now wait to see where it will play in the upcoming NCAA Tournament when the brackets are announced Sunday night.
Both teams were impressive offensively during the afternoon with Saint Leo shooting 49.1 percent (27-for-55) from the field and a blistering 59.1 percent (13-for-22) from behind the three-point arc. Tampa shot 49.2 percent (27-55) from the floor.
A major part of the Lions' offense was Guzman's torrid play. The sophomore guard had 18 of her 35 points in the first stanza and was 13-for-18 from the field, 6-for-9 from three-point range and 3-for-3 from the free throw line in 40 minutes of play. In addition, she grabbed eight rebounds which also ties her career best.
Saint Leo held the biggest lead for either team in the first half, 31-24, when Manigrasso connected on her only field goal of the half – a three-point shot – with 5:18 left in the stanza. The Lions would eventually take a 34-31 edge into the locker room at the break.
After just two ties and one lead change in the first half, both teams would go back-and-forth in the second half to the tune of four ties and 13 leads changes.
Saint Leo would lead for the final time in the game, 69-68, with 2:32 left when Guzman converted on a free throw following a running jumper. That would also be the Lions' final basket of the contest.
Chelsea Williams had six points and four rebounds for Saint Leo in the loss while Chelsea Connelly had six rebounds and five assists. Manigrasso also dished out five assists to go along with her 11 points.
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