tampabay.com

UT women roll into semis

By STEVE LEE
Published March 4, 2006


ST. LEO - Shaneisha Walton helped bring Tampa within one of tying a school-record 23-game win streak Friday.

The sophomore center, a first-team all-Sunshine State Conference selection, scored a game-high 26 and had eight rebounds, leading the second-ranked Spartans (22-6) to a 62-55 win over No. 7 Lynn in a women's conference tournament quarterfinal.

No. 5 Saint Leo's turnaround season ended with a 74-68 loss to No. 4 Nova Southeastern; No. 6 Barry snapped a six-year tourney losing streak with a 57-40 upset of No. 3 Florida Tech; and two-time defending champion Rollins extended its conference winning streak to 21 games with a 55-28 victory over Florida Southern.

In today's semifinals, Tampa plays Barry at 5 p.m. Rollins and Nova Southeastern meet at 7:30.

The men's semifinals take the court at the Marion Bowman Activities Center first with the Lynn-Barry noon matchup preceding the Rollins-Eckerd game at 2:30.

Tampa's defense forced Lynn into 23 turnovers. Cherise George led Lynn with 17 points.

Saint Leo, coming off back-to-back one-win seasons, finished 9-18.

"We did something that nobody thought we were able to do," coach Chanita Olds, a former Saint Leo standout, said of her team's ninth-place preseason ranking. "It's a different atmosphere here."

Saint Leo blew a 65-58 lead, but its defense held first-team all-conference Missy Guadagnino to nine points. The Sharks got a game-high 22 from Jennifer Havens.

Saint Leo's all-conference first-team pick Marquita Fenn, who did not score in the first half, led a second-half charge and finished with 10 points.

Jenna Drouin led the Lions with 15 points. Katie Koestner and Amanda Holloway added 14 each.