North Alabama's upset bid against No. 16 Tampa came up short Wednesday afternoon in a 58-49 loss on the Florida Southern campus in Lakeland, Fla. After erasing a double-digit lead, the UNA women's team scored only one basket in the final 2:55 of the Terrace Hotel Classic finale.
The win kept Tampa undefeated at 9-0 on the season. The Spartans, who defeated Alabama-Huntsville 68-50 in Tuesday's opening day, had recently rose from No. 24 to No. 16 in the latest Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Top 25 poll.
UNA (9-3) trailed 31-21 in the final two minutes of the opening half before entering the break facing a 33-24 deficit.
The Lions opened the second half on an 11-4 run, but could get no closer than three points until a jumper by Mekena Randle cut the Spartan lead to 46-45 with 3:36 remaining. After getting a stop at the other end of the floor, UNA took its first lead of the second half on a basket from Corinne White.
Tampa, however, responded with an 11-0 run over the next 2:40 to put the game out of reach. By the time Randle recorded the next basket for the Lions, only 16 seconds remained on the clock and the Spartans had a 56-49 lead. Two more Tampa free throws accounted for the final score.
Illyssa Vivo scored a game-high 18 points, while Shamika Williams also reached double figures for the Spartans with 15 points.
Randle led UNA with 12 points and added 10 rebounds to record her seventh double-double of the season. Nichelle Fillmore added 10 points for North Alabama.
UNA will not play again for 15 days, returning to Gulf South Conference play on Jan. 3 with a road game at Christian Brothers. Tip-off time is set for 5 p.m. on the CBU campus in Memphis, Tenn.
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