Downs Erupts For School Record 41 in Bucs Route

Za'Nautica Downs (Photo by Brad Young/
Za'Nautica Downs (Photo by Brad Young/
TAMPA, Fla.- Za'Nautica Downs put on a show Wednesday night on the road at Hillsborough, shattering the FSW single game record with 41 points as the 15th ranked Bucs hit the century mark in a 100-67 win to improve to 2-0 in Suncoast Conference play.  
Downs got her record breaking night going early on, scoring on the Bucs first possession to give them a lead that they would never relinquish.  Back to back threes from the sophomore gave her eight early points and seven more for the Bucs after that had FSW out to an 18-0 lead just 4:30 into the contest.  The Bucs continued to fire on all cylinders, eventually taking a 33-10 advantage after one thanks in large part to 13 first quarter points from Downs.  
A pair of threes from Cabria Lewis early in the second pushed the FSW lead to 30 for the first time and a steal and score from Simone Lett made it 47-14 Bucs midway through the quarter.  Downs buried another three to give her 20 and Sheslanie Laureano scored on a putback late in the period to put FSW in front 57-29 at the break.  
Not even a 15 minute halftime break on a brisk winter evening in Southwest Florida could cool Downs down as she roared out of the break scoring the first nine points of the half, quickly running her total to 29 on the night and giving the Bucs their largest lead to that point in the game at 66-29 just 1:24 into the second half.  Hillsborough finally found some rhythm of their own late in the third, but after three, it remained all FSW with the Bucs leading it 76-47.  
An early three and a pair of free throws from Downs early in the fourth put her on the cusp of history, just one point short of two-time All-American Tina Stephens' all-time single game record of 35 points.  It didn't take her long to eclipse the mark, scoring on a nifty dish from Lett with 7:30 to go in the contest to give her 36 points and the record all to herself.  Downs sat most of the rest of the fourth with the Bucs holding the big lead, but she got back in late and made the most of it, swishing a 12 foot jumper to give her 38 and then drilling a three in transition to cap her night with 41.  A pair of free throws in the final minute pushed the Bucs to the century mark as they finished off the Hawks 100-67  for their second straight victory. 
Downs was efficient in route to history, going 16-24 from the field and 7-11 from the three point line to achieve the school's new single game scoring record. Her 41 points top Stephens' old mark by six and bested her career high by nine.  Downs wasn't the only one that enjoyed a big night against the Hawks though as Lett put together a 14 point, 12 rebound double-double, and Laureano added 18 points on 8-13 shooting.  
FSW moves to 14-5 on the year with the win, improving to 2-0 in Suncoast Conference action.  Hillsborough drops to 7-12 overall and falls to 0-1 in their conference opener.  
The Bucs will look for their third straight win on Saturday when they return home to Suncoast Credit Union Arena to take on Daytona State in non-conference action beginning at 2 PM.