Freshman Queen Alford led the Dolphins’ (3-2) charge with 13 points, eight rebounds and a block. Junior Stephanie Edwards scored 12 points, while senior Tracie Sneed and junior Jade Cargill each finished with 10 points to round out the group.
The Dolphins would hit 14 of their 19 free throws in the second half to hold off a late Gamecocks’ (0-5) rally.
“We are happy to came away with the win,” JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “They made a late run, but we were able to hold them off. We got a lot of different contributions today and hopefully we can continue doing it Wednesday.”
With less than four minutes remaining, the Dolphins broke free from a seesaw battle to take a 66-56 lead on a Cargill layup. Jacksonville State used a 9-2 run, capped on a Peyton Hisel free throw, to cut the deficit to 68-65 with 1:08 left. The Gamecocks got it to three one more time before free throws from freshman Briona Brown and senior Maggie Wilson helped ice the JU win.
Briana Morrow scored 15 points and snagged 18 rebounds to pace the Jacksonville State offense. Amanda McCarthy and Destany Mclin each finished with 11 points, while Miranda Cantrell had 10 points.
In the first half, a three-pointer from junior Ronisha Mitchell allowed JU to race out to a 10-1 lead (18:12). Alford hit a jumper to make it 16-8 (13:27), but a three-point play from Morrow capped an 11-0 run for Jacksonville State to take a 19-16 advantage at 9:36. The teams traded leads three more times until a Wilson three-pointer gave JU a 35-30 advantage at the half.
Brown finished with nine points and a team-best nine boards for the Dolphins who posted 16 fast-break points. Wilson had eight points and seven rebounds in the win.
The Dolphins will return the Wednesday against South Carolina State in Orangeburg, S.C. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. with the JU men following to play the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m.