Nine-year drought, no more! The Dolphins brought home the win from Stetson's Edmunds Center for the first time since 2009.
DELAND, Fla. – For the first time since 2009, the Jacksonville University women's basketball team is leaving Stetson's Edmunds Center with a win. The Dolphins fought off a fourth-quarter rally from the Hatters and held on for a 61-54 victory Wednesday evening.
"I challenged the team to get back to our identity, which is defending at a high level. The maturity our players showed by accepting the challenge is something that makes me proud," stated Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin.
"The season is long, the season is hard, and we just have to take a look at ourselves because for the past two games, we felt like we weren't playing defense like we knew how. Tonight, we were able to do that and that's why we had success."
Added McCuin, "I challenged the captains to take us home in the home stretch because they're the most experienced, along with Kayla [Gordon]. Even though Kayla's numbers didn't show in the stat sheet, her presence makes a difference. I was just proud.
"Jaz was due for a big game; I personally challenged her and I think she had a lot of success because of what she did on the defensive end. Brandi is the heart and the soul of the team. She just plays with so much energy and right now, she's just refusing to lose and that's what you expect from a senior. Brandi plays so hard, I've never questioned the effort that she's given. She's just being rewarded for her efforts."
Jacksonville (17-7, 7-2 ASUN) opened the game on a 7-0 lead as Brown drained the first of her trio of three-pointers, followed by back-to-back jumpers from Shakayla Nevitt.
Struggling to find its offense, Stetson (14-11, 5-4 ASUN) managed to come back within one, 13-12, at the end of the quarter.
Brown's pair of shots beyond the arc and completed and-one accounted for nine of the Dolphins' 13 points in the first quarter.
The Dolphins received jumpers from Alexis Burns (7:33), Naqaiyyah Teague (6:49), and Brown (6:18) to open the second and match its lead from the opening period, 19-12. Jacksonville's stringent defense continued to control the Hatters, never allowing the hosts to come within less than three the entire half, as the Dolphins headed into the intermission with a 27-23 advantage.
Stetson found a way to tie the game on three separate occasions in the third quarter before the Dolphins showed they meant business and closed the quarter with a 12-0 unanswered run to take a 45-33 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
Despite finding a spark and holding a 21-16 advantage in the fourth, the Hatters couldn't find an answer to the Dolphins' stifling defensive effort. A pair of steals from Buie down the stretch, coupled with the Dolphins' 7-of-10 performance at the free throw line saw Jacksonville bring home its first win at the Edmunds Center in nearly a decade.
Asked how it felt to pick up her first victory on the road at Stetson, McCuin glowed, "Like an elephant just got taken off my shoulder. I feel like we're very hard to beat when we defend at a high level and when we play for each other and you could see that tonight. The girls really were focused and played for each other tonight. We're going to go and get ready for these next two road games."
Brittney Chambers led the Hatters with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Dolphins close out their three-game road swing this weekend when they head to Kennesaw State on Feb. 10 for a 2 pm tipoff, followed by a Monday night matchup at Lipscomb at 7 pm EST.