Women's Basketball Runs Out of Steam Late in the Game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Jacksonville University women’s basketball team dug themselves into an early hole and battled in the second half to close it but ultimately fell on the road to Lipscomb, 94-79, on Thursday night.

Guards Queen Alford and Sherranda Reddick led JU with 20 points each while senior guard Stephanie Edwards contributed 13 points with five assists and three steals.

Lipscomb recorded five players in double-digits with Chandler Cooper leading the way on 22 points.

“From the beginning of the game I knew it would be all about defense,” said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. “A team like Lipscomb is a dangerous team because they don’t have anything to lose. They came out and did what they were supposed to do. They hit big shots; they shot the best I’ve seen them shoot all year and what we had to do was defend them.”

Open looks for the Lady Bisons allowed them to jump out to a quick 7-2 lead.  After the sluggish start, the Dolphins shook off the rust and knocked in back-to-back layups to pull within one, 7-6, with 16:48 on the clock. JU took their first lead of the game, 12-11, on free-throws from Edwards before the teams went on to tie for the fifth time at 16-all with 13:45 remaining.

The Dolphin's inability to defend three pointers provided the Bisons with a 24-18 cushion as they hit 5-of-7 from beyond the arc by 12:07. In an aggressive game with plenty of whistles, the Dolphins were over the limit before the midpoint of the frame and LU was shooting two at the line from then on.

By 9:14, the Bisons had built a 10-point advantage, 32-22, on another trey from Sara Bliss. Momentum was in favor of Lipscomb over the ensuing minutes as they worked their way up to a 44-28 tip with less than three minutes left in the half.

Freshman center Jenny Vernet and Edwards closed the gap to single-digits, 44-35, before Reddick closed the half with a power layup to allow JU to enter the half trailing 46-37.

Jacksonville opened the second frame with new life. After Edwards opened the period with a layin, Alford stole the ball on the Bisons inbound play and hit the close jumper. While the Fins were in need of a defensive stop, offensively they remained within an arm’s reach.

Trading baskets, Reddick banged in a three-point, 56-49, at 15:48 but Danay Fothergill returned the favor on the Bisons next possession.

Pressuring LU, the Dolphins forced a steal and Reddick took advantage of the extra possession with a made midrange jumper to pull JU within six, 61-55, with 13:51 remaining. The Bisons couldn’t stop the freshman as she worked JU’s 10-0 run with six points of her own. Down by as much as 16 at one point, the Dolphins tied the contest at 61-all at 11:07.

In a game of runs, Lipscomb and Jacksonville traded them plenty. Three consecutive treys gave the Bisons back a 70-61 lead (8:35) after the stalemate. In a repeating cycle, the Dolphins would pull within a few scores and LU would end the stretch with a break of its own.  

Trailing by 16 in the final two minutes, the Dolphins ran out of gas and fell out of range of a comeback.

The contest marked the Lady Bisons first home and conference victory of the season. In the loss, JU fell to 10-12 overall and 7-4 in the Atlantic Sun while LU improved to 4-19 and 1-11.  

Jacksonville continues its travels on Saturday, Feb. 15 to face Northern Kentucky at 7 p.m.

“It’s all about pride from now on as we play these teams for the second time,” said McCuin. “You can win on any night and you can lose on any night. It’s about executing from start to finish.”