By: Adrian Carmona and Michael Tubbs
On January 25th, the Santa Fe Saints women’s basketball team defeated the Florida State College at Jacksonville Blue Wave 59-54, extending their win streak to three games. This win also marked Head Coach Chanda Stebbins’ 300th career victory with the program.
The Saints started out in a strong man-coverage scheme, which forced multiple turnovers. This led to an early 8-0 run to start off the game. Their dominance on the glass on both ends of the floor helped the Saints take full control in the first half. The Saints switched to a 2-3 zone at the end of the first quarter, which ended 18-7 in the Saints’ favor.
The Saints forced 9 first-half turnovers and out-rebounded the Blue Wave 28-17. Offensively, freshman Irene Kabassubabo notched 11 first-half points, marking a career-high. The Saints also dominated in the paint, outscoring the Blue Wave 20-8. The Saints ended the first half up 33-18.
After a commanding first half from the Saints, the Blue Wave forced three straight turnovers and went on a 7-0 run to start the third, cutting Santa Fe’s lead to 7. The Blue Wave’s hot start continued, as the Saints’ held on to a one-point going into the fourth.
To begin the fourth, Freshman guard Joey Delancy blocked a shot and scored a layup on the other end, shifting the momentum. However, the Blue Wave continued to challenge the Saints, taking their first lead 52-50 with three minutes left. After trading baskets very late in the fourth, the game was tied 54-54 with 50 seconds remaining.
However, Saints guard Malea Brown was fouled and drained both free throws to give the Saints a two-point lead. M’Kayla Patterson of the Blue Wave was fouled on the next possession but failed to make either of her attempts.
On the ensuing Saints possession, sophomore guard Selah Reddick made one of her two free throws to extend the lead to three points. On the ensuing Blue Wave possession, the Saints forced a turnover with 4 seconds left, all but sealing the game as the Saints held on to win 59-54.
New Milestone For Coach Stebbins
With this victory, head coach Chanda Stebbins reached 300 career wins with the Saints. Coach Stebbins is now in her 21st season with the program and has earned six Mid-Florida Conference titles and is a six-time Mid-Florida Conference coach of the year. Under her tenure, Santa Fe has made the state/regional tournament 12 times and has had 15 All-state honors players.
Stebbins became the winningest coach in Saint’s history in 2016 when she won her 197th game. Over 95 players have accepted scholarships to upper-division schools under Coach Stebbins. As successful of a career as she has had, Stebbins has always cared about her players and has always put them first.