Trailing by 15 to start the second half, the Dolphins (7-11, 3-4 A-Sun) cut the deficit to a bucket three times, including missing a three-pointer in the final eight seconds, before taking the loss.
The Ospreys (8-10, 4-3) hit five three-pointers in the first half to set up the win and snag the SunTrust River Rumble point in the process. Jadhken Kerr scored 14 points to lead three UNF players in double-figures.
“I am really proud of the way we played in the second half,” JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “The girls played their hearts out, but it’s hard to battle back from holes like that. We have a week to work out the kinks before we play again next Saturday.”
Trailing 41-26 to start the second half, the Dolphins opened with an 8-3 run, capped on a three-pointer by junior Ronisha Mitchell, to cut the deficit to 44-39 (13:03). Kerr later hit a three-pointer to give UNF a 53-47 later before JU trimmed it to 55-53 (7:39) from sophomore Britney Holliday.
UNF’s Desitnee Smith scored 10 points in the final eight minutes to help give her squad a 65-58 advantage with 3:59 left. Senior Tracie Sneed hit a three-pointer (3:15), while junior Stephanie Edwards scored a jumper (00:43) to make it a 66-63 deficit. After a UNF timeout, the Dolphins grabbed a rebound on a missed Ospreys’ free throw with 16 seconds left, but missed two looks to fall short.
Sneed scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half for the Dolphins, who shot 50 percent from the floor in the frame. Sneed also matched junior Jade Cargill in rebounds with eight. Cargill and Edwards finished with nine points in the loss.
In the first half, Sneed recorded a three-point play to cut an early JU deficit in half, 14-7, with 16:07 remaining. UNF followed with a three-point play in the next possession and later built a 31-20 advantage on a Smith jumper with 5:30 left. Kerr and Ki Conner hit consecutive three-pointers to extend the Ospreys lead with four minutes left, while a layup by Fabiola Josil beat the halftime buzzer to give UNF a 41-26 lead.
Smith had 13 points for the Ospreys, while Chandler Merkerson scored 10 points to help cause. UNF went 10 of 27 from the floor in the second half after shooting 48.6 percent in the first half.
The Dolphins return to action Saturday when they travel to play USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.