Bucs Stunned By Titans

Juliana Gomez (Photo by Roy Allen)
Juliana Gomez (Photo by Roy Allen)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The #19 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers were stunned by the St. Petersburg Titans in the closing seconds of their contest Tuesday night at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, dropping a 71-70 decision after multiple close in shots to win it at the final horn missed their marks.  
Tied 6-6 four minutes into the game, FSW went on a tear, scoring the next 12 points, highlighted by back to back threes from Macarena Retamales and Natalia Tondi, to take a commanding 18-6 lead on St. Petersburg with 2:14 remaining in the first quarter.  The Titans picked up some momentum though in the final two minutes, outscoring the Bucs 7-2, cutting the FSW lead to 20-13 at the end of one.  
St. Pete continued to trim the Bucs lead, cutting it to a one point game midway through the second after holding FSW without a single point through the first 4:36 of the quarter.  The Titans leveled the score at 21 with 4:20 left in the half and it wasn't until a driving layup from Kiana Wilson with 3:13 to go that FSW got their first bucket of the second quarter to fall.  The damage was done by then as St. Pete opened up a lead of a dozen before going to the half with a 35-25 advantage after 20 minutes of action.  
Retamales scored the first six points of the third quarter out of the break to get the Bucs back to within four and they sat within two possessions for the next six minutes until back to back FSW turnovers and subsequent scores for the Titans pushed the St. Pete lead back to nine at 51-42 late in the third.  The Bucs closed the third on a 8-1 run however, getting back to within striking distance at 52-50 as the teams reached the final 10:00 of regulation.  
The Bucs took their first lead of the second half with 6:54 to go in the fourth when Aaliyah Williams scored in the paint to make it 57-56.  A three moments later from Retamales pushed the lead to six and it looked like the Bucs were back on track with just 5:00 remaining in the contest.  The Bucs nursed the lead over the next four minutes, but weren't able to put the Titans away and St. Pete took advantage, using an offensive rebound and putback to push back in front by one, 69-68 with just 41 seconds remaining.  Retamales was fouled and hit two clutch free throws on the Bucs next trip down the floor to go back up one and it looked like FSW was going to pull it out as St. Pete missed a pair of shots on the inside with under 10 seconds to go, but their third offensive rebound of the possession turned into two points on a finish in traffic to put the Titans back on top 71-70 with 8 seconds to go.  The Bucs had two shots to win it in the closing seconds, but both crawled off the rim and out, sending the Titans bench into an eruption and the Bucs fans home scratching their heads.  
The Bucs shot under 40% on the night, but held St. Pete to just 36% shooting.  The difference came though on the glass where the Titans outrebounded FSW by 16 in the contest including 22 offensive rebounds which turned into 18 second chance points.  Retamales led the way with a game high 24 points while Williams added 15 in the loss. 
FSW falls to 5-3 on the year with the loss while St. Petersburg improves their mark to 5-5.  
The road won't get any easier for the Bucs as their next three contests come against teams ranked inside the Top 10 in the country beginning on Friday when they take on #5 Gulf Coast State at 4:00 in Daytona Beach at the Florida Juco Shootout.