FRIDAY, MARCH 07, 2008
JU women advance to title game with 68-57 win over Gardner-Webb

March 7, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One more win.

That is all that is need for the JU women's basketball team to make its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament after dispatching No. 3 seed Gardner-Webb on Friday, 68-57, in the semifinals of the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.

The Dolphins (23-8) will be making their first appearance in the A-Sun title game in the short history of the program.

DaVina Hamilton scored a game-high 21 points to lead four Dolphins in double figures. The junior was feeling it, hitting eight of her first nine shots.

"We've taken the next step, but we've still got more work to do," said JU head coach Jill Dunn. "We came out ready to play and did the things that you're supposed to do to win games in March.

"Our goal all season was to win a championship and now we're in position to do that. We're going to do our best to get ready for a tough opponent, whoever it is, and a tough game tomorrow."

JU also got 12 points from Regina Omiote, 11 from Courtney Jackson and 10 from Virginia Gregoire, to go with her team-high nine rebounds.

Laura Povilonyte led the two Bulldogs (13-18) in double figures with 17 points.

Trailing by two at the half, Gardner-Webb struck first in the second half to take its first lead of the game as Povilonyte hit a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 32-31 lead.

The Dolphins answered with a run of their own, pushing the lead to eight, 42-34, with Hamilton scoring three straight baskets to spark the run.

The Bulldogs pulled within four again, but JU extended the lead to nine, 52-43, courtesy of back-to-back 3-pointers by Regina Omoite and Courtney Jackson.

Jackson came back down a few minutes later to hit another 3-pointer to give JU its biggest lead, 57-47, midway through the half. All of this coming while Williams was sitting on the bench due to foul trouble.

Gardner-Webb had a run left, cutting the deficit to four, 59-55, thanks to six straight points by Margaret Roundtree over a two minute stretch.

JU was not going to be denied its spot in the title game though, pushing the lead to 12 with just over a minute to go to allow the Dolphins' fans to breath easier, finishing the game by holding the Bulldogs to just two points over the final five minutes.

Roundtree added 10 points for the Bulldogs.

A see-saw first half saw the Dolphins strike the major blow, a 9-1 run midway through the half, but held on despite a pair of free throws by Povilonyte to take a 31-29 lead at the half.

JU will face either ETSU or host Lipscomb in the championship game on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on Comcast Sports Southeast.