MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2006
Women's Basketball falls short in 73-69 loss to Niagara

Dec. 18, 2006

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Dolphins caused the fans to shift in their seats for the final two minutes but the JU women's basketball team ran out of time in the end to drop a 73-69 contest to Niagara, Monday evening at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (5-5) drops its first home contest this season despite winning the rebounding battle (42-39), the turnover margin (22-16) and causing a program- record 17 steals in a fast-paced contest. The Dolphins shot 38 percent from the field (31-81), including a 7-for-20 effort from beyond the arc.

Niagara (7-4) snapped a three-game losing steak after shooting 52 percent from the floor (27-52) and converting on 16-of-23 foul shots compared to a 0- for-4 effort by the Dolphins.

Trailing 69-60 with 1:04 left, the Dolphins cut the margin to 69-64 after a put back and a steal for a layup by sophomore guard Virginia Gregoire. After a missed free-throw by Jennifer McNamee, junior forward Ashley Williams made a jumper in the paint to make it 69-66 with seven seconds remaining.

After McNamee hit a pair of free throws on the intentional foul, sophomore guard DaVina Hamilton nailed a three-pointer with less than a second remaining to make it 71-69. The Dolphins fouled immediately and McNamee hit a pair of free throws to end the contest.

"Things look like they were in our favor in several statistical categories but we couldn't convert on our opportunities to score," said JU head coach Jill Dunn. "Niagara hit their shots, got to the foul line and found a way to hold us off at the end."

Sophomore guard DaVina Hamilton finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor to go along with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Freshman guard Courtney Jackson tallied a season- high 14 points with six rebounds and two steals.

Gregoire added 13 points, five rebounds and four steals while Williams finished with 12 points and seven rebounds to round out the Dolphins in double figures. Sophomore guard Regina Omoite tallied eight points and career highs with seven assists and six steals.

Sara Prybyl finished with a game-high 18 points on 9- of-16 shooting from the floor. Michelle Manfredi added 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting and nine rebounds. McNamee (12) and Wilson (11) rounded out the Eagles scoring.

Despite trailing 38-35 at the half, JU took its first lead of the contest (43-42) when sophomore guard Crystal Ayers hit a jumper at the 14:31 mark. Niagara answered back with a 9-3 run to make it 52-45 with 11:08 remaining.

The Dolphins cut the margin to 52-49 after a jumper by Gregoire at the 10:24 mark, but the Eagles answered with a 10-3 run to pushed the advantage to a game-high 10 points after a pair of free throws by Sarah Wilson. JU cut the lead to 63-57 after a three-pointer by Hamilton with 3:53 remaining but the Eagles countered with a 4-0 run to make it 67-57 after a jumper by Wilson with 2:47 left.

In the first half, both teams went through five ties and held a lead no larger than four points until Niagara used a 6-0 run to take a 28-22 advantage with 5:39 remaining in the half. JU answered with a 5- 0 run to make it 32-31 on a layup by freshman forward Desarae Johnson but the Eagles went on a 6- 0 run to lead 38-31 with 28 seconds left. The Dolphins made it 38-33 at the half when Omoite hit a jumper in the lane with a second remaining.

JU will return to the road to face USF in the Sun Dome on Wednesday at 7 p.m.