MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. ( Dec. 17, 2022) – Following another close game at the Cruzin Classic at St. Thomas University, Florida National University’s women’s basketball team was unable to pull out a victory against the College of Saint Mary Flames. The Conquistadors (4-6) came into the match securing a 57-54 win over Aquinas College Friday. The Flames (4-9) made their first appearance in the classic and delivered a disciplined performance on both sides of the ball.
FNU’s first 10 minutes of play saw the Conquistadors shoot 60% (9-15) from the floor to outscore the Flames 21-14 at the break. Natalie Larranaga and Janelisse Marty Marrero combined for 15 points in the first quarter while Kaylee Llanos had four points on 2-5 shooting.
The Conquistadors played a smart defensive scheme, forcing 17 Saint Mary turnovers in the first two quarters. Despite an overall solid performance from FNU, the Flames went into halftime only trailing 28-27. FNU’s offense cooled in the second frame as FNU went a mere 16.7% (2-12) from the floor. Larranaga did a solid job of knocking down some much-needed shots and collected five more points as both sides retired for halftime.
In the third, FNU outscored the Flames 16-14, clinging to a 44-41 lead at the end of the period. Llanos was nothing short of explosive tallying eight points and going 2-3 from behind the arc. Unfortunately, the freshman ran into some foul trouble and had to get subbed out before the end of the period.
The Flames did a better job of taking care of the basketball only giving up four turnovers to start the second half.
In the final period, Saint Mary shot a team-high 54.5% (6-11) from the field to overpower FNU and take a 49-47 lead after a made three-pointer by Kenzi Hoit. Despite giving up the lead late in the contest, Llanos went to work, picking up a solid layup before immediately stealing the ball on the inbound pass for another quick score right at the rim.
With the score at 53-51 and 4:29 left on the clock, FNU attempted a full-court press that ultimately gave up a few easy scores on the other end for the Flames. With 21 seconds left, Marty Marrero made a clutch jump shot in the paint to make it 59-56. Needing to foul to keep their hopes alive, Saint Mary’s iced the game on the free throw line going 3-4 from the charity stripe before time expired.
FNU had three players in double digits once again as Larranaga, Llanos and Marty Marrero recorded 18, 17 and 14 points, respectively. Larranaga once again had a team-high seven rebounds and seven steals.
Up Next: The Lady Conquistadors take a short break before returning for the FNU Christmas Classic beginning December 21.