THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011
Women's hoops edges South Carolina State, 68-67
Sophomore Abril Peeples had 17 points off the bench in the win. Play Video
Sophomore Abril Peeples had 17 points off the bench in the win.
Clutch play from sophomore Abril Peeples and senior Crystal Bell helped the JU women’s basketball team outlast South Carolina State, 68-67, on Thursday night at Swisher Gymnasium.

Peeples scored four of her team-best 17 points to allow the Dolphins (2-10) to tie the contest in the final minute, while Bell’s 13th point was a free throw that secured the victory. Junior Tracie Sneed had a double-double with 11 points and 13 points as the Dolphins finished 18 of 23 (78.3) at the charity stripe.

“I am happy with the way we responded,” JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “We played hard for the entire 40 minutes. We got down by eight late, but I was pleased with the way we were able to keep our composure and come back. This is what we have talked about for a while and we are happy to see it tonight."

Free throws helped the Lady Bulldogs (5-7) extend a three-point lead to 65-57 with 4:05 left. Sneed added two free throws, while sophomore Jane’l Osborne had a block and converted it to a jumper on the other end to trail 65-61 with 3:24 remaining. After two more Sneed free throws, Bell recorded a steal in the final minute to open the door for consecutive makes by Peeples for a 67-65 JU lead (0:43). Tracey Flowers tied the contest on a layup, but Bell was fouled on an offensive rebound on the next possession with nine seconds left. She made the second free throw and the Dolphins forced a miss by Tiara Knotts to secure the win.

Knotts finished 18 points and three steals to lead the Lady Bulldogs offense. Flowers added 12 points and eight points as South Carolina State recorded a 43.5 field goal percentage.

The Dolphins were held to 32.8 field goal percentage, but hit six three-pointers for the third time in the last four games. JU also got 33 points from the bench.

After a slow start by both teams in the first half, Lauren Johnson gave the Lady Bulldogs a 17-14 lead on a three-pointer at 7:30. Bell tied it with a three-pointer in the corner less than a minute later to make it 19-all. Another Bell three-pointer gave the Dolphins a 27-23 advantage, but the Lady Bulldogs tied it at 27 on a Knotts jumper (4:34). The Dolphins got a three-pointer from Peeples in the final seconds before Knotts hit two free throws to make it 38-all at the half.

Sophomore Jade Cargill had seven points, while Osborne finished with six points off the bench. Senior Jessica George tallied four assists to help the cause.

The Dolphins return to the A-Sun schedule on Monday against Lipscomb in Swisher Gymnasium. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. Fans can follow the action through the live links on JUDolphins.com.