It was the season opener for both teams, but the see-saw battle between Santa Fe College and South Georgia Tech had all the feel of a post season playoff game as the Saints held off the Lady Jets for a 68-66 win. "I am very proud of the way we played against a team of this caliber," said Head Coach Chanda Stebbins. "We played under control for most of the game."
Airneisha Gamble led the Saints with 21 points while Chardell Jones added 15 and Janasia Law 14. "Our guards (Gamble and Law) were our scorers tonight, but we got key contributions on both ends of the court from our front line of Chardell Jones, Rhea Smith and Keaubree Edwards."
The game was back and forth from the start with Lady Jets, ranked # 11 in the nation, holding a one point lead after the first quarter at 21-20 and a three point lead at half 35-32. The lead was never greater than four points for either team during the first half. The Saints (1-0) fell behind by nine points, 49-40 midway through the third quarter, but cut it to five going into the final period. The Saints scored the first 10 points of the fourth period aided by a pair of 3-pointers by Gamble to take 59-54 lead with under seven minutes left. A free throw by Gamble pushed the lead to nine points with under four minutes to play and the Saints withstood a final push by the Lady Jets for the win.
"Gamble played with a lot of court presence tonight," said Stebbins. "I am very proud of the way we played, particularly in the second half when we shot the ball much better."
The Lady Jets out rebounded the Saints 42-31, but committed 23 turnovers to the Saints 14. "You are not going to win a lot of games being out rebounded like that, but I am very happy with our defensive intensity and the fact that we took care of the basketball for the most part."
Next up on the schedule, the Saints will host Hillsborough CC on Saturday at the SF gym a 2:00 pm.
For all Saints schedules, stats and more visit santafesaints.com.