MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011
Women’s basketball ends losing streak with 70-60 victory over Belmont
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Junior guard Ashanti Williams added 18 points in just her second start of the season to help the JU women’s basketball team snap a four-game losing streak with a 70-60 victory over Belmont on Monday night in Nashville, Tenn.

Williams also got help in the Dolphins’ (7-7, 2-3 A-Sun) win from senior guard GiGi Thomas who added 15 points and four blocks off the bench. Junior guard Crystal Bell had 10 of JU’s 33 bench points, while senior forward Taneskei Richardson finished with 10 points, eight boards and three steals.

“It was nice to get back in the win column,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn. “We had several people step up tonight and our defense was solid. We need to build off of our defense from the game and use it this weekend against ETSU.”

Haley Nelson scored 19 points and tallied 11 boards to pace the Bruins (6-9, 3-3), who finished shooting 36.4 percent from the floor (20-55) and went 5-of-20 from beyond the arc.

JU finished shooting 45.6 percent from the floor (26-57), while hitting all 11 of its free throw attempts en route to an 86.7 free throw percentage (13-15).

Early into the second half, the game would bounced back and forth until Bell and Richardson each used steals to create fast break layups in a 11-0 JU run for a 51-40 lead (11:41).The Bruins closed the gap to four points less than two minutes later, 51-46, on a couple of free throws and a three-point play from Juilanne Downs.

After the final media timeout, Cacy Burtnett hit a three-pointer for Belmont cut the deficit to 57-56 (3:56). JU answered with a layup from Williams and a steal by senior forward Lynsey Paschal set up a Richardson score to give the Dolphins a 61-56 lead (1:55). Nelson added a layup for Belmont, but junior guard Jessica George nailed a three-pointer to push the advantage back to six points for JU (64-58, 1:18). Burtnett was fouled on a layup she made on the next trip for the Bruins, but missed the free throw and JU added six more free throws to hang on for the win.

Burtnett and Shaunda Strayhorn each finished with eight points for the Bruins, while Alyssa Visbeen added six points and seven rebounds.

After falling behind early in the first half, the Dolphins rattled off an 11-3 run, capped on a fast break jumper by Thomas, to take a 15-11 lead (12:52). JU got consecutive three-pointers from Thomas and Williams a few minutes later for a 23-21 advantage (8:37), but Belmont’s Rachael Swisher tied the game on the following trip with layup. The Bruins regained the lead, 34-32, with less than 30 seconds remaining in the half with a Nelson layup and a Kristin Nash three-pointer. Richardson made a hook shot as time expired to send both teams to the locker room tied at 34.

George and freshman guard Ronisha Mitchell each tallied five points for JU in the win. George also had three assists and two steals.

The Dolphins will return home to host ETSU on Saturday in the Veterans Memorial Arena at 1 p.m. The matchup will also be the Dolphins annual portion of the NCAA “Pack the House” game. The first 200 fans on Saturday will receive a JU t-shirt, while kids under the age of 13 are admitted free for Youth Day. The team is hosting a special pre-game basketball clinic and pizza party for all Girl Scouts at 11 a.m. Troops wishing to sign up for the clinic can email Brian Freshley at bfreshl@jacksonville.edu.

Last season, the Dolphins won the NCAA “Pack the House” contest for the A-Sun by selling out the UNF game at Swisher Gymnasium and hope to capture that honor once again.