The Bears (8-7, 2-2) used a 15-5 run in the final five minutes to rally past the Dolphins (6-10, 2-3) for the win. Ry’van Buchanan scored 32 points off the bench, including the go-ahead points, to lead the offense. Precious Bridges added 22 points to help the cause.
“We let this one get away from us,” JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “We have to do a better job of putting away teams when we have the lead. Our goal is to put this one behind us and look to get better on Monday.”
With 7:18 left in the contest, the Dolphins took a 61-54 advantage on a jumper from senior Maggie Wilson. The Bears cut the deficit to 63-62 from a Teanna Robinson layup with 4:20 remaining. Freshman Briona Brown followed with a jumper, but Buchanan made three buckets to give Mercer a 68-67 advantage (2:13). In the next possession, the Dolphins tied it at 68 when junior Stephanie Edwards made the second of two free throws. Buchanan added another jumper to make it 71-68 with 40 seconds left, while Bears forced one last stop to hang on for the win.
Junior Jade Cargill recorded 19 points and 12 boards to lead the Dolphins, who finished shooting 43.3 percent (26-60) from the floor. Brown added 15 points, while Edwards had 11 points and seven rebounds.
After a back-and-forth start to the first half, the Bears took a 24-18 lead from a Kendra Grant jumper at 9:35. Cargill helped close the gap to 26-25 on a jumper with 7:04 left. Edwards and Wilson followed with scores to give JU a 29-28 lead (4:01). The Bears tied the contest at 30, but Brown hit two three-pointers in the final two minutes for a 40-35 JU lead at halftime.
Wilson finished with eight points for the Dolphins, while senior Tracie Sneed had nine points in the loss.
The Dolphins return to action Monday when they host Kennesaw State in Swisher Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Fans can follow the action through the live links at JUDolphins.com.