FRIDAY, MARCH 04, 2011
JU ends ETSU’s reign atop A-Sun with 61-59 upset
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The JU women’s basketball team has seen its season tragically end at the hands of ETSU three times in the last four years.

On Friday, the Dolphins (15-16) jumped a major hurdle, surviving several second half runs to oust the three-time defending tournament champions, 61-59, at the University Center.

Gigi Thomas led three Dolphins in double figures with 13 points, hitting two 3-pointers and making some clutch baskets down the stretch.

“We’ve had a lot of tough games against ETSU and this group did a great job of fighting for 40 minutes to get this win,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn.

The win snapped the Dolphins drought to the Bucs, bringing home the first win over ETSU since 2007.

JU held an 11-point halftime lead and it stayed that way until ETSU answered with a 17-6 run to tie the game at 48 with 8:14 left in the game.

The Dolphins pushed the lead to four, 56-52, but ETSU countered with five straight points to take its first lead since 11:51 left in the first half as Latisha Belcher hit a pair of free throws with 1:25 left in the game, 57-56.

Facing another crushing defeat at the hands of the Bucs, JU answered with Jessica George, the hero from the quarterfinal upset of UNF, getting a steal and layup, while also drawing a technical foul on Gwen Washington. When the dust settled, George made 1-of-3 at the stripe and JU had a 59-57 lead with one minute left.

JU took a 3-point lead when Crystal Bell made 1-of-2 at the stripe with 24 seconds left, opening a hole for Tara Davis to drive the basket and make a layup to cut the lead to one with 17 seconds remaining.

Thomas missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and Jasmie McIntosh missed two shots under the basket with less than 10 seconds left – with Bell finally getting the defensive rebound.

She made 1-of-2 at the stripe, opening a hole for ETSU, which came up short when McIntosh’s 3-point at buzzer hit the back iron.

Bell finished the game with 11 while Tanaskei Richardson had 11 points and six boards.

After making 1-of-6 to start the game, JU hit 13-of-24 the rest of the way to build a 34-23 lead at the half.

The Dolphins will face either Belmont or Stetson in the A-Sun Championship game on Saturday at Noon. It will be live on Comcast Sports Southeast.