JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The game was just within the Dolphins' grasp. Jacksonville University's women's basketball team entered the break with a slight advantage over Stetson but couldn't recover from a 14-2 run early in the second half as the Dolphins fell, 73-67, in its regular-season home finale.
Sherranda Reddick and Briona Brown continued to pace JU's offense, dropping 26 and 18 points, respectively. The upperclassmen combined to tally all of Jacksonville's baskets from beyond the arc, nearly assisting the team in recording its second straight game of 10 three-pointers made - the Dolphins' season high.
Though down, JU was never out, as it rallied from a seven-point deficit to make it a one-point game, 18-17, at the midpoint of the opening half. There were large gaps of time where neither team was able to get a point on the board, nearly a three minute stretch from the 7:36 mark up until the clock read 4:20.
The Hatters clung to a 24-21 advantage until Reddick broke the scoring lull with a jumper and Gordon provided the Fins with their first lead since their opening possession on a pair of makes at the free-throw line.
The 25-24 JU edge lasted less than 10 seconds as Stetson went to the charity stripe and connected on one of its two attempts. In the final three minutes, the teams went back-and-forth on the scoreboard with Jacksonville winning the exchange to take a 33-32 lead at halftime.
Jama Sharp opened the second half with a three-pointer, serving as the catalyst of an eventual 14-2 run. In the spurt, Sharp connected on three treys and the Hatters held a 46-35 advantage with 16:05 remaining.
Brown and Brandi Buie notched back-to-back buckets to pull the Dolphins within six, 46-40, at 14:53 but the team couldn't turn the corner to cut the deficit any less.
"We just went away from who we are," said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "We are a defensive team, and the critical turning point was when we gave up all those points to start the second half. That was the game."
"We have to be who we are. As long as we play defense, we give ourselves a chance. That's a team that we really didn't play well against the first time. We're getting better, and hopefully we're ready to clinch the win when it really counts. Now we just have to play, see how things shake out [in the conference] and go down to [Florida] Gulf Coast and get into a defensive battle with them."
Jacksonville concludes the 2014-15 regular season with the top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast. The contest is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.