FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (February 25, 2012) - Down by 17 late in the first half, 14th-ranked Rollins mounted a historic comeback to beat Nova Southeastern 62-60 and win its 13th Sunshine State Conference championship.
Rollins finishes the regular season 21-5 overall and 12-4 conference play.
The Tars scored on their first possession, but saw the Sharks open the game hot and take an 18-6 lead halfway through the first.
NSU's advantage ballooned to 29-12 at the 5:29 mark of the first half and was 16, 34-18, with 2:44 to play in the first. Led by the play of freshman Emmalee Schill, Rollins closed the period on a 7-0 run and were down 34-25 at the half.
After the Sharks went back up 11 early in the second, the Tars comeback continued and was culminated by a Jones 3-pointer that tied the score at 42 with 13:10 to play. Nova answered with a 7-0 spurt, but Rollins was relentless and again knotted the score, 50-50 on a pair of Schill free throws.
The score was deadlocked at 57 with 2:17 to play until Rollins forced a turnover and took the lead for good on a McDaniel leaner in the lane. The Tars defense got a stop on the ensuing Sharks possession and McDaniel made it a four-point game after a pair from the stripe.
Meixandra Porter quickly hit a triple for the Sharks and cut the Tars lead to 61-60 with 17 ticks left. McDaniel then ran off four seconds and was fouled, making 1-of-2 and putting Rollins up 62-60. The defense dug in on the final play as NSU didn't even get a shot off and the Tars bench erupted with the sound of the final horn.
Porter netted 24 to lead Nova (16-10, 8-8 SSC) while Danielle Robinson added 13. Rollins shot 31 percent to the Sharks 39 percent, but scored a huge rebounding advantage, 51-35.
The conference title is Rollins 13th, the most of any other school in the SSC. Co-champions Florida Southern picked up its 11th title while Barry notching its second. The Tars were last SSC regular season champions in the 2008-09 season.
Seeds, sites, times and parings for the 2012 Sunshine State Conference Tournament will be released later Saturday.