Briona Brown had a team high 16 points for JU
Dolphins unable to make a run after a slow start to the second half
MACON, Ga. – A cold shooting second half doomed the Jacksonville women’s basketball team in an Atlantic Sun Quarterfinal match-up on Thursday. The Dolphins fell to host Mercer by a final of 63-53 and had their six-game quarterfinal winning streak snapped in the process.
Freshman Briona Brown (Haines City, Fla.) led JU with 16 points, while senior Tracie Sneed (Jacksonville, Fla.) added 13 points and 10 rebounds for her seventh career double-double. Sneed was 7-7 from the foul line and ends her career ranked third in school history with 246 career free throws made.
“Mercer is a very good team, but I thought we hung tough with them,” said JU Head Coach Jill Dunn. “Their transition offense in the first half when Williams came in and took it to us a little.”
Mercer’s Alicia Williams came off the bench to score nine points in a three minute span at the start of the game, but a balanced Dolphins attack answered back to take a 10-9 lead at the 12:29 mark of the first half.
The Bears gradually worked up a 23-16 lead over the next few minutes before Sneed ignited a 10-2 spurt for JU with an old-fashioned three-point play. A four-point play from Brown capped off the spurt and left the Dolphins leading 26-25 with three minute left in the opening half.
Williams was there again for the Bears however with two more of her 16 points as Mercer eventually took a 32-28 lead at halftime.
Unfortunately the JU offense went cold to start the second half. Mercer scored the first six points after the break as the Dolphins were held without a field goal until Queen Alford (Decatur, Ga.) hit a corner three with 8:16 remaining. The 2013 A-Sun Freshman of the Year followed with a lay to pull JU back to within seven, but the Dolphins were never able to slow down the Bears enough to make a late game run.
“The way we started the second half it killed us and we just never could regroup,” said Dunn. “They had a good defensive game plan and have a lot of length inside that bothered us today.”
The Dolphins ended the game shooting 29.8 percent from the field while the Bears hit on 38.2 percent.
“We never could get over the hump and get our offense going today,” said Dunn. “We were very sluggish shooting the ball and weren’t making good decisions. Everytime we’d cut into the lead a little they’d come down and hit a key basket.”
Jacksonville finishes the season at 11-19 overall.
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