Spartans Overpower Spring Hill in Season Opener

Spartans Overpower Spring Hill in Season Opener

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa women's basketball team had no problem dismounting visiting Spring Hill College in its 2019-20 season opener as it led throughout the contest for a lopsided win.

INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Final Score: Tampa 78, Spring Hill 46
Records: University of Tampa Spartans (1-0), Spring Hill College Badgers (0-1)
Location: Bob Martinez Athletics Center || Tampa, Fla.
All-Time Series: Tampa has taken all three meetings against its fellow South Region opponent after previously winning over the Badgers in 2017 and 1986.

HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Quarter | Tampa set the tone early and held its momentum for the remainder of the quarter after scoring the first five points of the game. With a score of 14-6, the Spartans proceeded to outscore its opponent 11-0 in the final 3:14 of the quarter. Senior point guard Kris Nelson picked up where she left off at the 2019 NCAA South Regional with 11 points to lead Tampa in the first 10 minutes. || Tampa 25, Spring Hill 6

2nd Quarter | The visiting Badgers mounted a rally in the second quarter to come within striking distance of the Spartans. Spring Hill would outscore UT 20-13 in the quarter as the Spartans were just 3-for-12 from the field. UT did force six SHC turnovers, fueled by a pair of steals from Dori Nagy|| Tampa 38, Spring Hill 26

3rd Quarter | The Spartans put to bed any hopes of a comeback from the Badgers as they outscored their opponent 23-10 in the third quarter. The Spartans regained their shooting touch with a 53.8 percent field goal percentage while going a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. Junior transfer LaShayla Wright-Ponder led UT with eight points, three rebounds and a blocked shot. || Tampa 61, Spring Hill 36

4th Quarter | UT coasted through the fourth quarter, outscoring its opponent 17-10. Freshman Samantha Matthews made her collegiate debut and connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes to finish with six points. Tampa was 7-for-11 from the field in the final 10 minutes. || Tampa 78, Spring Hill 46

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • All five Spartan starters finished in double figures, led by 18 points from Nelson. The others included Wright-Ponder (15), Julia Ingram (15), Nagy (10) and Melijah Sullivan (10).
  • Wright-Ponder was also in double figures with 11 rebounds as the Hampton transfer notched a double-double in her first game as a Spartan.
  • Nagy led the way with six assists.
  • Tampa was a perfect 16-for-16 from the free-throw line as Nelson was 7-for-7. Wright-Ponder connected on all three from the charity stripe as Nagy, Mya Giusto and Aliyah Abney were each 2-for-2.
  • Ingram was 5-for-8 from 3-point range to lead Tampa's long-range attack.

BEYOND THE BOX:

  • Head coach Tom Jessee played a total of 10 players with eight different Spartans totaling over 10 minutes of play.
  • This is the third straight win in a season opener for the Spartans.
  • The 22-point margin was the largest in an opener for UT since 2010 when the Spartans handed Warner a 31-point loss.
  • This is the third time in school history where UT was perfect from the free-throw line. The others came at Saint Leo (11-11, 2/18/2009) and Colorado-Colorado Springs (21-21, 11/26/2005).

UP NEXT: Tampa concludes the opening classic in another regional matchup on Saturday against West Georgia at 6 p.m.

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