Sophomore Trio Leads Bucs Past Saints

Natalia Tondi (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/
Natalia Tondi (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/
GAINESVILLE, Fla.- The three headed monster of Jayla Murray, Macarena Retamales, and Aaliyah Williams combined for 50 of the Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers' 67 points Saturday afternoon on the road at Santa Fe, leading the Bucs to a tight 67-63 win to push FSW to 5-2 on the early season. 
The Bucs jumped out to a quick start, scoring on their first two possessions of the ballgame, but Santa Fe quickly answered and put together a 27 point first quarter to take a 27-16 lead on FSW after one quarter of action.  
After an early three to put Santa Fe up 30-16 in the second quarter, the Bucs defense dug in, holding the Saints without a point over the next 4:07 to get back to within three at 30-27.  With 3:19 remaining in the half the Bucs drew even when Natalia Tondi picked off a Saint pass and threw it ahead for an easy two for Macarena Retamales to make it 32-32. An old fashioned three point play from Retamales put FSW back in front and they would carry that lead into the half at 39-35.  
Aaliyah Williams connected from deep to stretch the Bucs lead to seven early on in the second half, but the Saints whittled that back down to just two at 51-49 with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter. Neither team scored in the final two minutes of the period and as such, the Bucs headed to the fourth clinging to a two point lead at 51-49.  
A big offensive rebound and putback from Jayla Murray gave the Bucs a five point lead midway through the fourth and a bucket from Williams moments later made it 64-54 FSW with 3:43 to go.  But just when it looked like it was in the books for the Purple and Aqua, the Saints made things interesting, getting all the way back to within four before the Bucs dribbled out a 67-63 win for their fifth win of the season. 
Murray, Retamales, and Williams combined for 50 points for FSW in the win, Murray with 18 and Retamales and Williams with 16 each.  Murray also added 10 rebounds to chalk up a double-double in the victory. The Bucs struggled shooting from the outside once again, hitting on just 4 of 18 three point attempts (22%).  
FSW moves to 5-2 on the season with the win while Santa Fe falls to 4-3. 
The Bucs will have an extended break during the Thanksgiving Holiday as they won't take the court again for 10 days when they return to Suncoast Credit Union Arena for a 5 PM tip on November 29th against St. Petersburg.