Lady Sailfish No Match for Tampa in Season Opener

Written By: Michael Brown, PBA Sports Information Director

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- In the first of three straight home games to start the 2009-2010 season, the Palm Beach Atlantic University women’s basketball team welcomed in the University of Tampa on Tuesday evening for the season opener for both teams at the Rubin Arena. After keeping the score close early on, the Sailfish couldn’t keep up with the nationally-ranked Spartans who cruised to a 64-37 victory.

Picked by the Sunshine State Conference coaches to finish in the top spot, the Lady Spartans overcame an average shooting night at 37% overall as they played suffocating defense against PBA in holding the Blue and White to only 37 total points and a 28% (14-50) overall shooting mark.

Both squads traded baskets in the early going before PBA freshman Samantha Harvey drilled her first career long-ball at the 14:26 mark in the first-half to put PBA in front 8-7. From there UT would regroup as a layup by Messina Gianna took back the lead with 13:42 remaining in the first-half, a lead they would never relinquish the remainder of the game.

The Spartan lead would grow to as many as 10 points before PBA clawed their way back to within four points at 23-19 on a basket from freshman Ashley Dolberry with 4:07 to play in the half.

Tampa would once again put some distance between the two squads as they reached double-digits again at a 10 point lead and then took into halftime a 30-21 advantage. UT struggled with their outside shot with only a 4-of-17 mark from beyond the arc in the first-half but took advantage of their two-point attempts at 7-of-14. PBA was limited to a 35% mark in the first-half of action with 8-of-23 shots going down.

A layup by Selethia Jackson brought the Fish within eight points a 33-25 early in the second-half but that would be as close as the Fish would get as UT pulled away for an easy victory.

Led by their two returning All-SSC 1st-Team players in Gianna Messina and Tiara Cook, UT found a balanced scoring load to earn the first game victory. Messina operated the point guard position well for most of the night and finished with eight points, seven rebounds, and five assists while Cook chipped in 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting with nine rebounds.

Taja Green led all scorers with 15 points on the night including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. Caitlyn Mitryk managed 10 points and four rebounds in 31 minutes of action.

For the Fish, they were paced by seven points off the bench from junior Liz Fugate who finished 3-of-8 from the field while adding in six boards. Jackson registered six points and five rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting overall while Tete McClenney also chipped in six points off the bench.

PBA had 25 turnovers compared to that of 13 for the University of Tampa.

PBA will look to get back on track on Thursday, November 19th as they will battle Webber International University at the Rubin Arena with tip-off set for 6 p.m.

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