November 21, 2011 Contact: Scott Jamison 352.395.5616 firstname.lastname@example.org
SF WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
FITTS, CONEY LEAD SAINTS TO UPSET OF NJCAA #2 GULF COAST, 66-62
Gainesville, FL – The Santa Fe Saints (2-6) put their early season struggles behind them on Monday evening and overcame a 16 point deficit, defeating the NJCAA nationally ranked #2 Gulf Coast State College, handing the Commodores (6-1) their first loss of the season. Stephenie Coney and Alexis Fitts led the charge, scoring 17 points each.
“I’m really proud of our players and how hard they played tonight,” said SF Coach Chanda Stebbins. “Gulf Coast is a tremendously talented team, but out players did a great job of executing the game plan we practiced. As a coach, I feel great about what I saw out there tonight.”
The Saints led through the first eight minutes before the Commodores flipped a switch and went on a 23-6 run to go up 33-17 at the 4:31 mark. Santa Fe chipped away over the next three minutes and a Lonna Turner three pointer and a runner in the lane by Coney took the margin back to single digits at the half, 35-26.
SF came out of the locker room on a mission in the second period, scoring the first 12 points to take a 36-35 lead. The Commodores were held scoreless by the defensive minded Saints for the first seven minutes, but came roaring back with a 10-2 run of their own to regain the lead 45-38.
Santa Fe immediately answered back with four straight three pointers, one each by Coney and Fitts and back to back daggers by Tiara Thompson at the six minute mark to put the Saints ahead 50-47, a lead they would not relinquish.
“Tiara deserves a lot of credit for the way she played tonight,” said Stebbins. “Coming off of an injury, this was her first game of the season and her career and she played like a veteran. Those two shots were huge in switching the momentum of the game.”
Coney gave SF their largest lead of the game with a free throw at the 2:48 mark to make the score 57-49.
Gulf Coast refused to give in and cut the margin to 64-62 on a three pointer by Keyrra Gillespie with 27 seconds remaining. Alexis Fitts nailed both of her free throws with 15 seconds to go and the Santa Fe defense held GCSC to earn the victory.
The Saints shot 70% (12-of-17) from the field in the second half, 5-of-7 from the three point line and made 11-of-16 free throws. SF made a season high 56.4% (22-of-39) of their shots on the game.
The Commodores made just 10-of-30 shots in the second period and 4-of-15 three pointers. They were 6-for-25 from three point range on the game.
“Our girls took very high quality shots tonight and when you do that, you are going to usually see positive results,” said Stebbins. “Gulf Coast plays very intense defense, but we didn’t just settle for contested shots. We played with maturity and looked for openings in the defense. I’m very proud of the confidence we showed tonight against one of the best teams we will see all season.”
Santa Fe outrebounded the Commodores 20-8 in the second half and 31-28 on the game.
Coney and Fitts were the only Santa Fe players in double figures with their 17 points, but many other Saints did their part in the win. Stephanie Edwards scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds, Taybreanna Couch had seven points and four rebounds, Lonna turner scored seven points and contributed two steals and Tiara Thompson scored six.
“I tell our girls all the time that you are only as good as your last game,” said Stebbins. “We have some tough games coming up and we can’t rest on this one victory. They know they have to keep practicing hard, keep getting better every day, and keep working to become as good a team we know we can be. We grew up a lot tonight, but there is always room for improvement.”
The Saints tough schedule continues when they travel to Niceville on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 to take part in a tournament at Northwest Florida State College. SF faces NJCAA #9 Chipola College on Friday at 1:30 PM CST and NJCAA #4 Northwest Florida State College on Saturday at 5:30 PM CST.
For complete schedules and more information on Saints Women’s Basketball, please visit www.sfcollege.edu/athletics. To see game photos and other updates, follow Santa Fe College Athletics on Facebook.