NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was a thriller through to the very end. Trailing by three with 1:17 on the clock, Sherranda Reddick forced a steal in Tennessee State University's front court and the extra possession paid off with a pair of made free throws from Loliya Briggs. On the following inbound play, Reddick again forced a TSU turnover- this time underneath JU's basket which nearly turned into a layup but was mishandled and taken down court for the dagger – a Lady Tiger floater with 15 seconds remaining.
In the end, the Jacksonville University women's basketball team dropped the contest by a score 64-61.
TSU had plenty of open looks in the beginning of the contest. With the Dolphins caught behind TSU screens, the Lady Tigers' post players were left with a few clear paths to the basket and made layups to hold a 13-6 lead with 16:11 on the clock.
Though the Dolphins trailed, it was a two-possession game until the 10-minute mark when Tennessee State knocked down a three-pointer to take a 17-10 lead with 12:26 remaining. The Lady Tigers went on to lead by as much as 13 until a contended trey by Briggs revived JU and ignited a 9-0 run.
A midrange jumper from Rachel Allen halted JU's scoring stretch, but a minute later the Dolphins went on another 6-0 stretch crowned by their first lead, 29-28, on a LaDeyah Forte' layup (2:41). At the break, the Dolphins trailed, 34-31.
Coach McCuin characterizes her team as a tough, defensive unit and a pair of JU steals to start the second frame embodied both of those adjectives. The turnovers were converted into points on the opposite end of the floor with the Fins lifted to a 35-34 advantage.
In a frame with six lead changes and seven ties, separation never lasted long. Hoping to put an end to the pendulum of scoring and traded one-point leads, TSU used a three-ball to gain space but Briggs wouldn't allow it to stick as she knocked down her third trey to tie the contest at 44 with 12:42 left in regulation.
Following the fifth stalemate of the half, JU kicked off another 6-0 run to hold its largest lead of the frame at 53-47 and unsuccessful in further padding its lead, the contest tied for the final time at 55-all.
The final minute was action packed. After Rachel Allen provided TSU with a three-point cushion, the Dolphins took a timeout with 10 seconds left to make a move. Deciding to have all her long-ball shooters on the court, Coach McCuin subbed in Shaleighya Sulton to join Reddick, Briggs, Forte' and Briona Brown.
With the clock at a standstill and all of the Gentry Center on pins and needles, Reddick inbounded the ball to Forte who found Briggs off the screen. With a TSU defender in her face and three seconds left, Briggs was called upon to be the hero and lined a trey that was tipped and sent wide.
She ended the night with 19 points while Brown posted 13 with nine rebounds and three steals.
This Saturday, the Dolphins visit Murray State for a 2 p.m. matchup.