JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University women's basketball team welcomed four programs to Historic Swisher Gymnasium Friday in day one of the Fairfield Inn Thanksgiving Classic, and recorded four double-digit scorers en route to a 74-65 success over Monmouth.
Kayla Gordon finished the afternoon with her second double-double in as many games with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Jacksonville is now 3-0 all-time in the Thanksgiving Classic after defeating Nicholls State and South Alabama a season ago.
"We're learning. We're growing. This is a new team," said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "If our team can really buy in to defending at a high level, we'll have even more success. I was disappointed with our free throw effort tonight. We left 12 points on the board, but overall, I'm proud that we found a way to win."
It was an evenly matched outing in the early goings, until a fast break opportunity between Shakayla Nevitt and Neely sparked an 11-0 run. The Hawks notched the final bucket of the quarter on a corner three-pointer, but the frame belonged to the Dolphins, 24-14.
Monmouth pulled within eight at the beginning and end of the second quarter to enter halftime down, 34-26. Gordon scored seven of her 12 first half points in the quarter with five coming from the free throw line.
Neely pushed Jacksonville back up by 10 with a hook shot on the team's first possession of the latter half, and Monmouth's Kayla Shaw split the difference, 36-31, at the 8:51-mark of the third. With 4:31 to go, the game was tied at 41-all. It tied a sixth time at 48 at the quarter's close.
The final stalemate locked things at 50-50 with 8:42 remaining in regulation, and it was quickly dismantled on a 7-0 Dolphin run.
A big 7-0 run from @JU_WBB has the Dolphins back on top 55-50. Buie with a nice driving layup, Brown with the corner three, then Buie leads Neely on the break. Timeout Monmouth pic.twitter.com/hY9Ci0VIm2— #ASUNWBB �� (@ASUNWBB) November 24, 2017
The Green and White went on to outscore Monmouth, 26-17, in the fourth quarter.
Jacksonville continues play in the Fairfield Inn Thanksgiving Classic Saturday with a 2 p.m. tip against Webber International. In the opening game of the tournament, the Warriors dropped an 81-53 decision to North Florida. The game featured 58 free throws and 62 fouls.