Women’s hoops falls to USC Aiken in exhibition action, 67-64
Senior Jessica George was one of three JU players to finish with 10 points Play Video
Senior Jessica George was one of three JU players to finish with 10 points
Despite leading for most of the game, the JU women’s basketball team fell victim to a late run by USC Aiken to take a 67-64 loss in exhibition action on Saturday at Swisher Gymnasium.

The Pacers, ranked No. 17 in the Division II national poll, trailed for 37 minutes before Daniela Tarailo hit eight of her nine points in a two-minute stretch to help gain a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Hannah DeGraffinreed paced the Pacers with 16 points on 6-of-16 attempts, while Kayla Harris chipped in with 13 points.

“We did show some good signs today,” JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “We controlled the game for 37 minutes, but I didn’t particularly like how we handled things in the end. I did like how we were able to attack some weaknesses of a very good team. The point of exhibitions is to improve and we work on doing that before our opener next week.”

Junior Tracie Sneed finished with 13 rebounds and 10 points in first game with the Dolphins. Senior Jessica George and sophomore Abril Peeples each added 10 points to help the JU offense.

With less than nine minutes left, the Pacers tied it for the third time in the second half on a layup from Brittney Hill to make it 50-all. George hit a three-pointer to give the Dolphins a 55-50 advantage. Tarailo took over with consecutive three-pointers and a layup to help the Pacers gain their first lead of the game, 58-55 (3:21). The Dolphins made it a 61-59 deficit on a Peeples jumper with 1:21 left, but the Pacers held off JU with free throws to secure the win.

Hill matched Tarailo with nine points, while also helping the USC Aiken cause with four assists and three steals.

In the first half, a layup from senior Crystal Bell capped an 8-1 run to give JU a 14-7 lead (16:14). The Dolphins extended the lead to 17-9 on a Sneed free throw less than two minutes later. DeGraffinreed got the Pacers within striking distance on a layup at 5:38 for a 25-23 deficit. Two layups from Peeples and a three-pointer from sophomore Ciara McLee helped the Dolphins take a 32-23 advantage (4:16). The Pacers closed the half on a 7-0 run to take a 32-30 deficit into the locker room.

Sophomore Madison Scott finished with nine points and eight rebounds for the Dolphins, while sophomore Jade Cargill recorded eight points. Bell finished her day with seven points, six boards and two steals.

The Dolphins open the regular season on Friday at 6 p.m. against Florida International in Miami, Fla.