JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Trivia question: which year is the year of the milestone? For Jacksonville University women's basketball, it would be 2018. So far, the Dolphins have seen two 1,000-career point scorers (in the same game, no less), a new all-time leader in rebounds, and just two days ago, earmarked the 2017-18 season as their third-straight with 20+ wins.
Jacksonville once again made history this season as its 73-53 victory over NJIT Monday evening at Swisher Gym marked the 250th all-time win in the program's 18-year history. To put it into perspective, 91 of those 250 wins have occurred in the five-year tenure that head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin has led the Dolphins.
"That's just a great accomplishment. Any time you can hit a mark like that, you're definitely proud of it; our players are proud to be a part of it, and we're proud of our staff to help get us here to that point," stated McCuin.
Jacksonville (21-7, 11-2 ASUN Conference) opened the game on a 9-0 run before NJIT was able to close out the quarter with a 6-0 scoring streak to lead 18-17 at the first break.
Not to be deterred by the Highlanders (4-24, 2-11 ASUN), Jacksonville outpaced the visitors by a sum of 46-20 over the next two quarters to put the game away.
After the first 10-minute segment alone, senior Kayla Gordon had accumulated 10 of the Dolphins' 17 points. By halftime, the Meridian, Miss. native totaled 16 of her 24 points and six of her nine rebounds to lead the Dolphins.
A 16-2 run to open the second pushed Jacksonville's lead to 35-22 with 3:48 to go before halftime, while an identical hot streak erased a 5-0 Highlander run out of the intermission to give the Dolphins their largest lead of the game, 63-35, heading into the final quarter.
"It was an all-around great game; our starters really came in and played. I thought Kayla Gordon set the tone for us on both ends of the floor," added McCuin. "When we defend, good things happen and it generated offense for us. That's what we want to focus on going into March."
Jacksonville held a 31-2 advantage in second-chance points, a stat that McCuin dubs is "a part of who we are. That's our identity – to rebound the ball. We're trying to do a better job of taking our time once we rebound so that we can convert. I was proud of that today."
With 11 points from junior Shakayla Nevitt and 10 from sophomore Alexis Burns, the Dolphins held the advantage in points off the bench (26-16) and points off turnovers (21-12) as the duo combined for three steals.
NJIT was led by Kelly Guarino, who posted a team-high 19 points. Jillian Libby and Danielle Tunstall added five rebounds apiece to aid the Highlanders.
Jacksonville closes out the regular season in River City Rumble fashion this Saturday, Feb. 24 when they play host to North Florida. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.