CLEVELAND, TN - Camille Giardina poured in 22 points, but Florida Southern College women's basketball was unable to hold on to a double-digit first-half lead in a 70-68 loss to Lee on Saturday at the GSC/SSC Classic. The Moccasins (1-1) were quick out of the gate, but the Flames (2-0) hung around long enough to pull within two points at the half and caught fire in the fourth quarter to snag a win.
Florida Southern returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to Saint Leo to open Sunshine State Conference action, and opens the home portion of its schedule on Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m. against Palm Beach Atlantic.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern got out to a quick 4-0 lead and shot the ball extremely well in the first quarter, shooting 52.9 percent in the opening 10 minutes of action. Lee was almost just as good in the first quarter, connecting on 50.0 percent of its first-quarter shots to keep things close. The teams traded the lead several times throughout the opening period, but Jensen Blassage gave the Mocs a 21-20 advantage when she hit a layup with 21 seconds to play in the quarter.
• The Moccasins used Jensen's basket to fuel a 10-0 run that saw FSC take a 29-20 lead with 5:38 to go in the opening half. Florida Southern would push its lead to 10 points (32-22) when Giardina drilled a three-pointer with 5:10 on the clock. The Flames would not go away quietly as they would hold the Mocs scoreless for the next three minutes and close the gap to just six points (32-26). The Moccasins went back up by eight (35-27) with just over two minutes to go, but Lee closed out the half on a 7-1 run to cut the deficit to two (36-34).
• Both teams were able to take leads in the third quarter before Florida Southern was able to snag a four-point advantage (54-50) when Giardina hit a jumper inside one minute remaining in the period, and the Mocs held strong defensively to keep Lee from scoring over the last minute of the third.
• The fourth quarter was when the Flames would make their move. The Moccasins went cold to start the last period, failing to score for the first three-plus minutes of action. Lee took full advantage by scoring six unanswered points, the last three on a layup and one from Abby Bertram, to jump in front 56-54. The teams would trade the lead several times throughout the remainder of the game. FSC clung to a one-point lead (66-65) with just under two minutes to go, but the Flames scored five of the next seven points to come away with the victory.
• Florida Southern shot 38.1 percent (24-of-63) from the floor, including 5-of-19 from beyond the arc, while Lee shot 41.5 percent (22-of-53) and was 6-of-17 from long range. The Flames connected on 20-of-24 free-throw attempts while the Mocs converted just 15-of-25. The Flames dominated the boards, collecting 45 rebounds to Florida Southern's 27.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern fell to 4-2 all-time against Lee as the Flames snapped a three-game losing streak in the all-time series with the Moccasins. The game marked the first time in the series that the teams had ever met on Lee's home floor.
• Giardina's game-high 22 points came on 8-of-21 shooting. She also finished with five rebounds and four steals. Blassage scored 15 points, while Anja Fuchs-Robetin notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The double-double was her second of the season and the sixth of career.
• Lee was led by a trio of double-digit scorers in Lindsey Roddy (15), Carrie Cheeks (14) and Bertram (14). Four different players hauled in at least five rebounds for the Flames, who dished out nine assists while limiting Florida Southern to just three.
• Florida Southern opens Sunshine State Conference play at Saint Leo on Wednesday before hosting Palm Beach Atlantic in the home opener on Nov. 18. The Mocs will then hit the road for four games in a row, including a pair of contests at the Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic.