Women’s basketball downs FAU in home opener, 78-66
Once junior guard Ashanti Williams got off the bench, it was tough stopping her as she racked up a career-best 22 points to lead the JU women’s basketball team past Florida Atlantic, 78-66, in the home opener at Swisher Gymnasium on Wednesday night.

Williams paced the Dolphins (1-1) by going 7-of-14 from the floor, a perfect 6-for-6 on the charity stripe and recording three steals.

Senior forwards Lynsey Paschal (13 pts, 10 rebs) and Taneskei Richardson (11 pts, 17 rebs) each had a double-double to lead the Dolphins. Richardson, who also finished with five steals, tied for the third highest single-game rebound total to match Paschal’s 17 boards in the home opener last season.

“This was a nice effort tonight,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn, who improved to 7-0 in home openers with the Dolphins. “Our team did what we needed to do for the win after failing behind in the first half. We need to work out some more kinks, but I like where we are heading so far.”

The Dolphins took care of business on the free throw line after hitting 18-of-27 attempts for a 66.7 average and won the rebound battle, 52-40.

Trailing 59-51 in the second half, the Owls (1-2) cut the deficit to four points with consecutive buckets by DaLita Scott (9:04). The Dolphins broke away with an 11-3 run over the next five minutes, capped by a jumper from Paschal, to take a 70-58 lead (4:53).

Teri Stamps helped the Owls to a six-point deficit, 72-66, on a jumper with less than two minutes remaining, but Williams snagged an offensive rebound on a missed free throw in the final minute to help JU quash the late rally.

Stamps finished with 22 points and five assists to pace the Owls, while Scott and Latavaia Dempsey each had 10 points. April Goins added a team-high 12 rebounds on the night.

In the first half, the Owls built a 29-20 advantage on consecutive free throws from Kimberly Smith (6:05). Williams pulled the Dolphins back with three, 29-26, on a jumper and a pair of free throws, while sophomore guard Maggie Wilson tied the game at 30-30 with a three-pointer at 3:32. The Dolphins regained the lead with two three-pointers from Williams and a layup by freshman guard Ronisha Mitchell en route to a 40-34 advantage at the half.

Wilson and junior guard Jessica George each finished with 10 points to help the Dolphins, while senior guard GiGi Thomas and freshman forward Jane’l Osborne added six points apiece.

The Dolphins continues their home stand on Sunday with Georgia Southern in Swisher Gymnasium at 1 p.m.