After a win and a loss in the first two games of the season in Tennessee, the Saint Leo Women’s Basketball team returned home to find themselves locked in a tough battle against the Florida Southern Mocs. With four players standing at six-foot-one or taller (their tallest player is 6’4”), the Mocs entered the game with a significant advantage in size, but Florida Southern dominated the game in more ways than just owning the paint.
From the opening tip-off, the Lions struggled to get off open shots. Over the course of the game, the home team attempted 53 field goals, whereas the opposition was able to shoot the ball 70 times. The Lions also frequently failed to work the ball into the paint. The high-pressure defense of the Mocs forced them to settle for more three-pointers as the shot clock wound down, and while the Lions shot a respectable 39 percent from behind the arc, they shot nearly twice the number of triples as their opponent. The defensive pressure also forced thirty Saint Leo turnovers from start to finish, a number 50 percent higher than Florida Southern’s turnover sum, and one that the Lions’ coaching staff is certainly unhappy with.
The game saw extraordinary play from one player on each team. For the Lions, it was sophomore Gina Brierly who was outstanding throughout the game. The team co-captain scored fourteen points in her thirty-four minutes of play, shooting a phenomenal 83 percent from the field, and not missing a single one of her four three-point attempts. She peppered the rest of the stat sheet with six rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Brierly led or tied her teammates in just about every major statistical category.
For the Mocs, it was the six-foot-one junior from Austria, Anja Fuchs-Robetin, who gave the Lions the most trouble. She recorded a double-double as she grabbed thirteen rebounds and put up 22 points in the contest. Fuchs-Robetin played all 40 minutes of the game without any rest and was a key contributor on both ends of the floor. The rest of the Mocs’ team performance was highlighted by their two starting guards, Jenson Blassage and Camille Giardina. Together, these three players scored 61 points, one number higher than the 60 points that all of Saint Leo’s players scored together.
Yet, the rest of the Lions’ efforts were not without their upsides, and co-captain Ragen Dotson showed promising domination on the defensive end. Both teams totaled only six combined blocks over the course of the game, and Dotson was responsible for five of them. She also tallied four rebounds and three assists. On the offensive side of things, it was redshirt junior Mary Redmond who gave her team big sparks when they needed them. Redmond led the Lions with 16 points, shot 50 percent from downtown, and didn’t miss a free throw. However, Saint Leo saw a noticeable lack of performance from staple contributors Madelin Lang and Izabell Skoogh, who combined for just five points in the ballgame and played an unusually low 15 minutes each. Down low, Alani Gallagher and Nikira Hooks were both responsible for matching Brierly with six rebounds apiece.
Saint Leo hits the road on Saturday to play their second conference game of the season, an away game against the Embry Riddle Eagles. The Eagles are undefeated at 3-0 but have yet to be matched up with a team in the Sunshine State Conference. Hopefully, the Lions can bounce back from this surprising 15-point loss and find some chemistry that leads them to their first conference victory.