MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2008
Women's basketball fails to overcome bad start in 81-74 loss to Belmont

Feb. 11, 2008

Box Score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The sweet music turned into a bad note in the final game at Nashville as the Dolphins could not overcome a frigid start to the contest as the JU women's basketball team fell to Belmont, 84-71, Monday evening at Curb Event Center.

JU (19-5, 9-2), which is still off to its best start and conference start in program history, outscored the Bruins in the paint (36-32), won the turnover battle (16-19) and scored 25 points off turnovers but could not find a way to recapture the lead late in the second.

The Dolphins saw their streaks of conference road wins (nine) and road streak (eight) come to an end while falling to 0-7 all-time at Curb Event Center.

Belmont (12-12, 6-5) improves to 10-1 all-time against JU after the Dolphins started the game off 0-for-8 with five turnovers in the first six minutes of the game. The Bruins also took advantage of opportunities on the free-throw line by connecting on 30-of-35 attempts while the Dolphins hit 17-of-25 opportunities.

"Belmont is the defending champions and they came out with a lot of energy right out of the gate," said JU head coach Jill Dunn. "Even though we dug ourselves a big hole, we were still able to get ourselves back into the game. Unfortunately, the momentum ran out before we were able to get over the hump."

JU trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half but managed to cut the margin to 54-51 on a layup by sophomore center Danielle Gray at the 12:27 mark. Belmont answered with a 12-1 run, capped by a free throw by Brooke Sunday, to make it 66-52 with 6:57 remaining.

The Dolphins stormed back once again on the heels of a 15-2 run to cut the deficit to 68-67 with a three-point play by sophomore forward Crystal Grable with 4:41 remaining in the contest. JU could never get over the hump as the Bruins pulled away for good with a 9-1 run to make it 77-68 after a pair of free throws by Shaunda Strayhorn with 1:12 left.

Junior guard DaVina Hamilton tied a contest high with 19 points while tallying six assists, four rebounds and a career-high five steals. Grable finished with a career-best 12 points and nine rebounds to go with two blocks.

Junior guard Regina Omoite (10) and sophomore guard Courtney Jackson (10) rounded out the Dolphin scoring as senior forward Ashley Williams managed only four points on 1-of-3 shooting from the floor before fouling out with 46 seconds remaining.

Strayhorn finished with a game-high 19 points after connecting on 13-of-16 free throws while also dishing out six assists. Amber Rockwell also tallied 19 points to go with six rebounds. Sunday rounded out the Bruins scoring with 17 points, half of which came from 9-of-10 shooting from the charity stripe.

In the first half, Belmont took advantage of poor shooting by the Dolphins by jumping out to a 14-0 lead on a jumper by Sunday at the 14:25 mark. Hamilton put JU on the board for the first time with a steal and a break away layup with 14:02 left. The Bruins increased the lead to 22-6 on a 3-pointer by Rockwell at the 9:15 mark before making it a period high 19-point advantage (27-8) on a 3-pointer by Laura Cowley with 7:28 remaining.

The Dolphins cut the margin to 29-19 on a 3-pointer by Jackson with 2:45 remaining but the Bruins went into the break with a 40-27 advantage. JU finished shooting .296 (8-27) from the field in the first half.

The Dolphins return to the friendly confines of Swisher Gymnasium as they host cross-town rival North Florida for a point in the SunTrust River City Rumble. The contest will also be "Think Pink" for JU as all fans are encouraged to join the Dolphin coaching and athletic staff by wearing pink for the game. The contest can be seen live on ASun.TV on www.judolphins.com.