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PREVIEW: Tars Visit Spartans in SSC Tourney Opener

PREVIEW: Tars Visit Spartans in SSC Tourney Opener

SSC Tournament Central

Complete Game Notes (.pdf)

Match-up:
No. 7 Rollins (11-15) at No. 2 Tampa (21-7)
Sunshine State Conference Tournament Quarterfinal 

When:
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | 7 p.m. 

Where:
Tampa, Fla.  | Bob Martinez Center 

Coverage:
WATCH: Tars Sports Network – RollinsSportsLive.com
LIVESTATS: TarsStats.com 

Set-up: Old rivals Rollins and Tampa are set to battle in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament quarterfinal on Wednesday night at UT's Bob Martinez Sports Center. The Tars come into the postseason as the seven-seed, finishing SSC play at 8-12. Rollins split games in the final week of the regular season, beating Florida Tech on the road and dropping its finale to 19th-ranked Florida Southern. UT finished the year as the SSC's runner-up, going 15-5 in conference pool play. The Spartans thumped Eckerd in their last home game, but lost to Lynn by seven to close the regular season slate. Tampa won both meetings earlier in the year, topping Rollins 55-44 at UT and 67-50 in Winter Park. UT was ranked fifth in the latest NCAA South Region ranking and is likely to get a bid into the postseason while Rollins will need to win the SSC Championship and grab the conference's automatic bid to the tourney.

Tracking the Tars: Rollins finished the SSC schedule 8-12 and used two wins in February to earn a spot in the tournament. The Tars finished the regular season with a pair of road games, besting Florida Tech 64-50 and hanging with 19th-ranked Florida Southern before falling 72-60. Carly McLendon had 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Tars. Tianna Rosser added 11 points and eight rebounds while Rachel Lia scored 10 off the bench. McLendon leads the Tars balanced attack on the season, putting up 9.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game. Yari Martinez-Toro is getting 8.8 points a game while Denise Daniels averages 7.3 a game. Rachel Jablonski and Jaylyn Harrison both score 6.8 a night. The Tars score 62.2 a game and are fourth in the SSC in defense, allowing just 60 points a game. Rollins leads the league in rebounding margin, beating teams on the glass by 8.3 a game. The Tars are 3-7 on the road this season.

Tracking the Spartans: Tampa went undefeated in February and ended the regular season as the SSC's runner-up. UT is coming off a road loss to Lynn in its regular season finale, 53-45 on Saturday. Staja Tyghter led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans. She averages 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds a game to top the UT season box score. Dori Nagy is getting 14 points and 9.1 rebounds a night while Emily Eshoo scores 9.7 a game. Tampa leads the SSC and is sixth in the nation in defense, allowing just 52.6 points a game. UT is eighth in the league in offense, scoring 61.1 points a night. Tampa is 13-2 at the Martinez Center this season.

Notes:

  • Rollins is 47-29 all-time in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament; last playing in 2017.
  • Rollins is 21-5 all-time in the SSC quarterfinals.
  • Rollins is 5-8 vs. Tampa in the SSC Tournament. They last met in the tournament for 2009 SSC Championship with UT winning 55-29.
  • Rollins leads the all-time series with Tampa 55-45.
  • Rollins is 18-23 all-time at the Martinez Center.
  • Rollins is 18th in the nation in rebounding margin (+8.3).
  • Rollins ranks 16th in Division II with 16 offensive rebounds a game.
  • Carly McLendon (RC) is 25th in the nation with 2.3 blocks a game and 29th with 61 total blocks.  
  • Carly McLendon (RC) is fourth in Sunshine State Conference history with 238 blocks. UT's Sheena Walton (396) and Jessie McDowell (298) lead the way. Nova Southeastern's Stephanie Sarosi (266) is third.
  • Tampa is sixth in the country in defense (52.6 ppg)
  • Tampa is seventh nationally in FG defense (34.4 percent)
  • Tampa is second nationally in fouls per game (10.8).
  • Staja Tyghter (UT) is 20th nationally in defensive rebounds per game (8.0).
  • Staja Tyghter (UT) is seventh in the nation in minutes played per game (38.8)
  • Rollins Head Coach Glenn Wilkes Jr. is 708-264 in his 33-year career.

Next up: The winner of Rollins and UT will face the winner of No. 3 Eckerd and No. 6 Lynn in the SSC Semifinals, Saturday, March 9 at 2:30 p.m. Nova Southeastern is hosting the semifinals and finals at The Rick Case Arena in Ft. Lauderdale.

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