Dolphins Secure Win in the Battle of the Unbeaten
Photo By Skip Tapp
Photo By Skip Tapp

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The crowd went crazy as the clock hit zero and the horns blared. Beating Northern Kentucky by a score of 67-56 on Saturday afternoon, the Jacksonville University women’s basketball team kept their flawless home and Atlantic Sun record intact.

“First of all, when the praises go up, the blessings come down. I want to give all praise and honor to God for what he has done with me and this program,” said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. “This group of girls is special. Northern Kentucky is a tough team but as I said before when we defend well, we can play against anyone. Kudos to our girls for locking in on the plan and defending. This was a fun game to watch and coach.”

It was an intense first half at historic Swisher Gymnasium. The Dolphins won the opening tip and immediately struck the basket. Evenly paced in the first minutes, senior guard Stephanie Edwards sliced the court and collected the make and a foul to push JU up, 5-3 at 17:16.

By the first media timeout, the teams were tied at 7-all with Edwards contributing all of JU’s points (15:21).

Later, the Fins used a 7-2 stretch to take a 14-9 advantage over the Norse but Lauren White hit a three ball from the top of the key and Melody Doss followed on a layup to tie. On the following NKU possession, senior forward Jade Cargill wouldn’t allow the Norse to pass half court as she stole the ball and traveled a few steps for the basket, 16-14, with 10:54 left in the half.

The teams continued to trade buckets until sophomore guard Queen Alford lifted the Dolphins to a 27-21 advantage at 3:56. Nearly exhausting the shot clock, Alford was seconds away from a violation when she ran the baseline for a layin.

Edwards crowned the half with a buzzer beater to allow the Dolphins to enter the break with a 35-38 lead.

“I think the highlight of the game was the fact that we were able to withstand the run," continued McCuin. "Basketball is a game of runs and coming into the second half they made a one. We just composed ourselves, stuck together and did what we had to do to win the game.”

The Norse entered the second frame scoring seven unanswered points, five of which came from Christine Roush, to tie the contest at 35-35 (17:02). Following the standstill, JU worked its way up to a slight 41-40 tip at 13:43 and went on a 17-0 run from then on.

Free throws were the Norse’s saving grace as the Dolphins held the team without a shot from the floor for nearly 12 minutes.

NKU made 14-of-15 at the line and closed the gap to ten, 64-54, with 1:50 remaining but the Dolphins forced turnovers and limited scoring opportunities to secure the 67-56 win.   

Edwards scored a season-best 16 points with six assists and five rebounds in the contest. Alford chipped in with 14 points and eight boards while Cargill added 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high six steals.

Jacksonville travels to Fort Myers next week to take on Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday, Jan. 23. Tip is set for 7:05 p.m.