FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Jacksonville University women’s basketball team battled to the final minute but fell to Florida Gulf Coast by a score of 56-49 on Thursday night. Freshman guard Sherranda Reddick led the Fins in scoring with 14 points to go alongside seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“We just didn’t have a chance to find our rhythm in the beginning of the game,” said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. “They hurt us in transition; we didn’t get back to defend. I thought we fought back in spurts but if we want to win everyone has to show up to play.”
Sophomores Queen Alford and Briona Brown each posted nine points in the contest and grabbed seven and six rebounds, respectively.
At the first media timeout, both teams were scoreless from the field. Free throws were the difference as the Eagles led JU, 4-1, with 15:50 on the clock.
Brown was the first to score from the floor as she worked the low post for a pull-up jumper and senior guard Stephanie Edwards followed suit on a three pointer to provide JU with a 8-4 tip at 14:38. The Eagles then went to the line to hit 11 unanswered free-throws, regaining a 15-8 lead.
A contested reverse layup from Alford and three-pointer from Reddick pulled the Fins within two, 15-13, at 9:33 and two more baskets from the duo tied the contest at 17-all.
Brown’s old-fashioned three-point play gave Jacksonville a 22-19 cushion at 5:59 before the Eagles’ Whitney Knight took over the remainder of the period. The guard scored 15 of FGCU’s last 18 points to lift the team to a 39-25 advantage at the break.
The Dolphins opened the second frame with three consecutive scores, 39-31, with 17:44 left in the game. Less than two minutes later, the teams traded basket but the Eagles were still in control, 46-37.
The next six minutes were quiet in Alico Arena. A scoring lull locked the teams at a nine point difference until freshman forward Kimberly Dawkins powered her way through a sea of white jerseys for the tough bucket. On the next possession, Reddick pulled JU within six, 46-40, as she split a pair of free-throws at 9:16.
At 7:42, the Eagles held a 53-43 lead backed by five points from redshirt-senior guard Sarah Hansen before the teams again went on a two-minute scoring drought. Junior guard April Carson ended the scoreless stretch with a bank shot off of the glass, 53-45, at 4:56 and neither scored again till Reddick hit a jumper, 53-47, with 49 seconds on the clock. From then on the Dolphins were forced to foul. While senior center Madison Scott was able to get a basket, time wasn’t on JU’s side as the Eagles hit three of their last four from the charity stripe.
After a hot first half where she scored 18 points, Knight was reduced to just two in the second frame. She also recorded eight rebounds and a career-high nine blocks.
Jacksonville continues its road travels on Saturday, Jan. 25 as they take on Stetson at 1 p.m.