Santa Fe Survives Thriller vs Miami Dade to Kick off the Best Western Gateway Grand Classic

The Santa Fe Women’s basketball team picked up right where they left off against TCC, with a win against Miami Dade College Sharks Friday night. This game came down to the wire, with Santa Fe winning 85-77 to move to 4-2 on the season, and 1-0 to start the tournament.

The Game

Santa Fe started off the first quarter with great energy on defense, forcing the Sharks to call an early timeout down 7-2. MDC picked up on the defensive side of the ball and put a bigger emphasis on 3-point shots. Sharks forward Iva Cholakoska torched Santa Fe from beyond the arc all game, finishing with five 3-pointers on the night. The quarter ended with Santa Fe on top 21-16.

The second quarter turned out to be a completely different ballgame for MDC. The Sharks came out with aggression, playing lockdown D and killing Santa Fe with points in the paint. Santa Fe continued to maintain an advantage on the boards, with second-chance points being crucial for the team. While the Saints moved the ball well and executed on offense, their lack of defensive presence in the paint cost them, ending the half down 45-42.

Santa Fe came out of the locker room ready to play to start the third. Whatever adjustments coach Chanda Stebbins made at halftime clearly worked, as Santa Fe started to pull away up 13 points. Santa Fe’s defense picked up, with steal after steal leading to several fastbreak chances. The Saints did not back down, playing beautifully on offense and exceptionally on defense. Santa Fe headed into the 4th quarter up 67-56. 

Early into the fourth quarter, it looked like Santa Fe was ready to break this game open. Up 13, it looked like the Saints could do no wrong. However, MDC would not go away, and with just under four minutes remaining, Santa Fe’s lead shrunk down to as little as four points.

Fans held their breaths, praying for the Saints to close this one out. Their prayers were answered as Santa Fe was finally able to put the nail in the coffin, escaping with a seven-point victory over the Sharks.

The Stats

Guard Malea Brown led the way for the Saints, scoring 26 huge points to go along with six rebounds, six assists and four steals. On the scoring side of the ball, Santa Fe had four players score in double figures, with guard Casey Lewis coming up big with 15 points off the bench. 

As a team, Santa Fe finished with 48 rebounds, 26 of them being offensive. The Saint’s ability to crash the boards was crucial to their ability to win this game. Guard Joey Delancey led the team with seven rebounds, three of them being offensive. The Saints won the battle on the boards 48 to 40.

Delancey led the Saints with seven assists. As a whole, Santa Fe finished with 23 assists, showing just how well this team moved the ball tonight. Ball movement has been huge for the Saints and will continue to be for the rest of the season. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Santa Fe finished with eight steals, leading to multiple fast-break layups and countless trips to the free-throw line. Miami Dade shot 54.7% from the floor compared to the Saint’s 37.3%. The Sharks were able to shoot tons of high-percentage shots, with a majority coming from in the paint. 

Looking Ahead

Santa Fe plays its second game of the tournament Sunday afternoon against Florida Southwestern State College at 2 p.m. The Saints look to keep the ball rolling and bring their winning streak up to three games.

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