Women's Basketball defeats East Tennessee State, 83-79

Feb. 15, 2007

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Five Dolphins scored in double figures and hit crucial free throws in the final minute to lead the JU women's basketball team to a dramatic 83-79 win over second-place East Tennessee State, Thursday evening in an Atlantic Sun Conference battle at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (14-8, 9-4) set a program record with its seventh consecutive home win by dominating the points in the paint (42-28), winning the battle of the boards (30-26) and converting 34 points on 27 Lady Bucs' turnovers.

ETSU (14-10, 10-4), which lost its first contest when scoring over 70 points, dropped its first game to the Dolphins despite shooting 67 percent form the floor (30-45) and 56 percent from beyond the arc (5-9).

After 11 lead changes and three ties, JU took its final lead of the contest when junior forward Ashley Williams scored on a layup at the 9:27 mark of the second half. ETSU would cut the deficit to one point on five occasions but could never recapture the lead.

"I am very proud of the way we handled ourselves when the game was on the line," said head coach Jill Dunn, who's Dolphins are now 9-2 since Jan. 1. "We capitalized on their turnovers, got the ball in the paint and hit our shots. Now we need to continue to play as a team as we try to get the best seed possible as we end the regular season."

The Lady Bucs cut the margin to one for the final time when Nichelle Akers hit a jumper cut the Dolphin lead to 80-79 with 25 seconds left. On the ensuing play, Kelly Turman knocked the ball away from sophomore guard Regina Omoite on the right timeline but was called out of bounds before calling a timeout.

Forced to foul, Omoite connected on two free throws with 14 second remaining to make it 82-79. On the next Bucs' possession, sophomore guard DaVina Hamilton stole the ball on an attempted pass by Brooke Wilhoit and connected on one free throw with an eighth of a second left to end the game.

Sophomore guard Virginia Gregoire led the Dolphins with 19 points and six rebounds while also tallying four assists and two steals. Williams finished with 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half, despite playing only 23 minutes due to early foul trouble. Hamilton added 13 points, four rebounds, four steals and four assists.

Omoite had 11 points, seven assists and three steals while freshman guard Courtney Jackson added 10 points to round out the Dolphins in double figures.

Siarre Evans tallied a game-high 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the floor to lead the Lady Bucs. Wilhoit, Turman and Devin Thompson each added 12 points to round out the ETSU scoring.

In the first half, both teams traded baskets early until JU used a 4-0 run to lead 8-3 at the 17:35 mark. The Dolphins pushed the lead to 11-5 after a jumper by Gregoire but ETSU used an 11-4 run to take a 16-15 advantage on a three pointer by Wilhoit at the 11:58 mark.

ETSU pushed its lead to 21-15 with a 5-0 run (9:49) and then held the lead for three minutes until a layup by Jackson gave JU a 26-25 lead with 6:35 remaining. The Dolphins would push the advantage to as many as three (32-29) with 3:23 left but ETSU used a 5-0 run, capped by a jumper by Thompson, to lead 34-32 with 43 seconds on the clock.

JU tied the game, 34-34, on a jumper by Gregoire with 31 seconds but Evans connected on a jumper of her own with 12 seconds left to give the Bucs a 36-34 lead at the break.

The Dolphins will continue their climb up the A-Sun standings when they host Kennesaw State at Swisher Gymnasium on Saturday at 2 p.m.