Sailfish Survive Late Saint Leo Rally to Earn a 69-66 Road Win
January 24, 2015
Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations
SAINT LEO, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic women’s basketball team earned a hard-fought 69-66 win on the road at Saint Leo University on Saturday afternoon as the ‘Fish held off a scrappy Lions’ squad at the Marion Bowman Activities Center. The Lions shook off a 22-point second-half deficit and held a momentary late lead before a clutch floater in the lane from Janelle Cannon put the Sailfish back on top for good with under 15 seconds to play.
Sailfish head coach Carlos Palacio improves his career record against Saint Leo to 4-1 as the ‘Fish sweep the season series from the Lions after earning a 76-63 win in West Palm Beach back on Dec. 13th.
Much like their first matchup it appeared as if Palm Beach Atlantic (7-14) would be able to cruise to victory as they jumped on Saint Leo (6-11) early and quickly built a double-digit lead.
The strong play of sophomore forward Ayanna Holmes led the team early on as she posted eight of the team’s first 17 points as PBA raced out to a 17-6 advantage with 14:24 to go in the first-half.
Heading into the lockeroom at halftime PBA led 44-27 thanks in large part to a 55.2-percent (16-29) shooting effort while also performing strong at the free throw line with 10-of-12 going down.
The second-half would be a different story however as Saint Leo tightened up on defense as they forced PBA into 10 second-half turnovers while holding the Sailfish offense to just a 29.6-percent (8-27) shooting mark from the field.
After the Lions trimmed the PBA lead down to single digits with just under five minutes to play the lead finally swung to the home side for the first time when a pair of Melissa Jackson free-throws found the bottom of the net for a 67-66 Saint Leo lead with just 19 seconds left.
Desperately needing an answer after being held scoreless for over four minutes the ‘Fish turned to Cannon who penetrated into the lane and hit a tough floater to wrestle the lead back for a final time for Palm Beach Atlantic.
A turnover on the other end by the Lions on an attempted counter-strike left the game into the hands of the PBA free-throw shooters as Denisa Domiterova calmly sank both of her tries to give the ‘Fish their final advantage of 69-66. Saint Leo’s final attempt at a game-tying three-pointer would be offline as the horn sounded for a PBA win.
Cannon led all PBA scorers on the afternoon with 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting while also chipping in a team-high seven rebounds. Domiterova and Holmes also topped double-figures with 12 and 10 points respectively.
The Sailfish will return home for their next two contests as they will welcome in Eckerd College on Wednesday, January 28th followed by a home date with Florida Southern College on Saturday, January 24, 2015 31st.