Gainesville, FL – Ari Emanuel-Wright came through in the clutch for the Santa Fe Saints Wednesday night, making the game tying shot with 3.3 seconds left to send it to overtime against St. Petersburg College, setting up SF with the chance to win their 13th game in a row. The victory clinched the Saints a spot at the FCSAA Tournament in March in Ocala.
Santa Fe College (17-6, 10-0 MFC) outscored the Titans 8-5 in the low scoring overtime period, using a mix of defense and free throw shooting to finish out the win and move to 10-0 in the Mid-Florida Conference.
The game started slow for the Saints who were outscored 19-12 in the first quarter but bounced back with a big defensive effort, holding SPC to nine points in the second period to tie the game 28-28 at halftime.
St. Pete regained their offensive muster in the third quarter, outpacing the Saints by 10 to build a 50-40 lead. That lead grew to 13 in the fourth quarter but SF slowly started to chip away. Leading the charge was Tabitha Odabe, whom Coach Chanda Stebbins made a concerted effort to get the ball to.
Santa Fe College got it all the way down to two points with just seconds remaining, setting up Emanuel-Wright’s heroics. Emanuel-Wright hit a short fade away jumper to send the game to overtime, setting off a frenzy in the SF Gym.
The Titans scored first in overtime, but from there it was all Saints. The biggest shot of the half came by Evelina Avleeva when she hit a step back three to put Santa Fe up four.
St. Pete narrowed the lead to one on a three pointer by Allysa Best, her third of the night, but would get no closer as Emanuel-Wright hit two free throws to make it a three-point lead. The Titans last gasp efforts were for naught and the Saints held on for their 13th win in a row.
Emanuel-Wright led the Saints with 21 points and eight rebounds, Tabitha Odabe had 14 points and 16 rebounds, and Evelina Avleeva scored 15.
The Saints next game will be Saturday at Hillsborough Community College at 2 p.m.
For complete schedules, stats and more information please visit www.santafesaints.com.