JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (JUDolphins.com) – In their first meeting since 2012, the Jacksonville University women's basketball team strung together a gritty second half to earn its third straight win with a 55-40 win at Jacksonville State, Friday evening. All 11 previous meetings between the teams have been decided by 10 points or less, including conference matchups when the Gamecocks were members of the ASUN. The Dolphins are now 7-5 on the season, while JSU falls to 4-6.
"Our group grinded it out tonight; we executed well in the fourth quarter," noted head coach Darnell Haney following the game. "There are going to be times when our shots aren't falling, and we tell our team that our defense needs to travel with us everywhere we go. It did tonight especially in the fourth quarter, and we locked in, defended, and played JU basketball."
Senior Alexis Burns pulled down seven rebounds in the first quarter alone for a new career-high with 12 to go along with her six points, whie junior Jada Perry put up a double-double performance with 13 points and 12 rebounds. For her efforts, Burns was named Hodges Mazda Player of the Game.
"We had a valiant effort from Alexis Burns; her 12 rebounds were key, and she took two charges which were big. Jada Perry came into her own scoring the ball. She got to the basket and wanted the ball in the clutch, and I appreciate that," added Haney.
After opening the game on a 5-0 run, the Dolphins and Gamecocks battled point-for-point as JU held a 15-14 lead after the opening stanza. The battle continued into the second quarter, as the hosts took a slim 18-17 lead on a Chloe Long layup (6:52). Jacksonville countered with a pair of layups from senior Kiara Meeks (5:16 and 4:21) and a free throw from redshirt-freshman Erin Wilson (1:26) to go ahead by four and hold a 22-20 lead at the break.
While a pair of shots from beyond the arc lifted the Gamecocks early in the third, the Dolphins found an answer with an 8-0 rally to regain the lead, 32-26, with 5:43 showing. A second seven-point run pushed the Dolphins to a 10-point lead, 41-31, and closed the period with a 41-35 advantage.
Redshirt-senior Shakayla Nevitt anchored the Dolphins' fourth quarter run with a hand in six of JU's eight points as the Dolphins pulled away to lead 49-35 with 6:15 to play. Exhibiting their trademark defense, Jacksonville held Jacksonville State scoreless for over eight minutes from the 1:38 mark of the third through 3:25 in the third en route to a 55-40 win.
"That run that we kept them from scoring gave us some momentum on offense. Our group stayed disciplined, they stayed with the process, went along with the game plan and we were able to come out with a victory and I'm proud of them for that."
Both Nevitt and sophomore Destiny Marshall posted five rebounds each, while Nevitt finished the day with 12 points and Marshall with nine. On the defensive end, Meeks reigned in four steals with eight points, while Wilson contributed with six rebounds.
The Dolphins return after the holiday break on Dec. 29 when they head to Mercer with game time set for 7 p.m.
ABOUT THE ASUN
The ASUN Conference is an NCAA Division I league with nine member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement through a true balance between student and athlete. Six ASUN schools reside in Nielsen Top 50 national media markets, and all nine are in top 80 markets. The ASUN includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Liberty University, Lipscomb University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Alabama, University of North Florida and Stetson University. Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., joins the ASUN for the 2020-21 academic year.
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