Women’s Basketball Scars Lions in New Year’s Eve Victory

Saint Leo, Fla. – With the clock ticking down from 10 and finally reaching the final seconds, three-two-one, Lynn University's women's basketball team got a jump start on the New Year's countdown, downing Saint Leo 56-54 on Saturday afternoon.  The Fighting Knights head into 2012 with a 7-4 overall record and 2-0 mark in the Sunshine State Conference.

Marquis Lee led the way with a game-high 18 points and was aided by Kira Harvey's 12 points but it was LU's defense which made the statement, forcing 23 turnovers, blocking five shots and posting 10 steals.

A Tylar Tracy three following the opening tip-off gave Lynn the early advantage but it was the Lions (6-5, 0-1 SSC) who were able to hold the lead for much of the game.  Saint Leo held leads by as many as 10 in both the first and second halves, the last of which came with 14:05 toplay in the game.

Lee came through for the Fighting Knights when they needed it most, scoring her team's final seven points in the opening period to cut LU's deficit from 10 to five, 29-24, heading into the locker room.

After the Lions were able to increase their lead to nine after the first media timeout of the second half, the Blue & White went on a 12-3 run to knot the game at 42.  Tracy knocked down her second trey of the contest then hit two-of-three attempts at the charity stripe to make it a five-point game.  Charla Nelson-James converted a pair from the line and Harvey and Lee hit mid-range jumpers to even the game for the first time since the tip-off.

A 52-47 Saint Leo lead with 5:16 to play had the Lions confident but LU's defense had other thoughts.  Lynn held SLU to 1-for-7 attempts from the field and forced four turnovers in grabbing the 56-54 lead with under a minute on the clock.

Nelson-James and Lee connected on back-to-back lay-ups and then stopped two offensive series in the waning moments to secure the victory.

Lynn shot 33 percent from the field, including 32 percent from downtown, while hitting 60 percent of its shots from the free-throw line.

This game marked the first time head coach Nikki Jesse faced her former team.  Jesse, formerly Nikki Sullivan, patrolled the sidelines for the Blue & White from 2007-09, posting a 32-24 overall record.

The Fighting Knights return to action on Wednesday, January 4, at 2 p.m. when they travel to Miami Shores, Fla., to battle rival Barry University.  Fans can follow the action live by logging on to LynnFightingKnights.com and selecting the Game Central icon.