Lady Spartans Win Back-to-Back SSC Championships

It was deja vu all over again for the University of Tampa women’s basketball team.

For the second consecutive season UT (23-7) beat Rollins (24-5) in the championship game of the Sunshine State Conference tournament.

In one of the most thrilling tournament games in recent history, UT defeated Rollins 68-66 on a Deshaydia Mackey bank shot with 0.2 seconds left in overtime.

Mackey dribbled past two Rollins defenders and hit a leaning shot off the glass just before the buzzer to give Tampa the victory.

“I knew the ball was going to be in my hands and I didn’t want to settle for a jump shot,” Mackey said. “I just threw it up and it went in. I can’t tell you how good this feels.”

The Spartans found themselves down by three points with 15 seconds left in regulation, but Mackey hit a wide open three-pointer to send the game into overtime.

“The shot Shay made at the end of regulation was an even bigger one than she made in overtime,” Tampa coach Tom Jessee said. “To defend the SSC title and win it again is a credit to our team.”

The Spartans scored the first six points of the overtime, but Rollins tied the score at 66 with 15 seconds remaining, before Mackey hit the game-winner.

Mackey finished with 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Sheena Walton just missed out on a triple-double as she finished with 12 points, 12 blocks and eight rebounds.

Alexa Kane was named tournament MVP after scoring 21 points in the final game. Kane went 9-of-13 from the field and recorded eight rebounds in the win. Rollins double-teamed Walton for much of the game allowing Kane many open jump shots.

“Shay played amazing the entire week, and so did Sheena,” Kane said. “It should have been a co-MVP.”

First team All-SSC forward Larissa McDonough finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Tars.

Rollins shot just 30 percent in the game, but attempted 80 shots as UT could only get off 54 field goal attempts. Rollins was able to keep the game close as UT turned the ball over 17 times. The Spartans shot the ball well, hitting 25-of-54 shots and making 12-of-15 free throws.

Notes: The Spartans were not ranked in the Coaches’ Top-25 poll this week. UT finished eighth in the final South Region poll. Fellow SSC conference members Florida Tech and Rollins finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the South Region.

Rollins entered the game with a 45-26 lead in the all-time series against UT.

After averaging 12 points a game in the regular season, guard Deshaydia Mackey scored a combined 57 points in the three games of the tournament.

Tom Jessee became the first UT women’s basketball coach to guide his team to consecutive SSC title game appearances with a win over Florida Tech on Saturday. Jessee also became the first UT women’s basketball coach to lead the team to consecutive 20-win seasons.

Leave a Reply

Back To Top