MIAMI, Fla. - Jacksonville women's basketball (6-6) grabbed a convincing victory Sunday afternoon, defeating the FIU Panthers (3-10) by a score of 73-62. It was a career-day for senior Rolanda Hayes, who led the Dolphins in scoring for the first time this season. The Dolphins also hit a season-high eight three pointers in the contest.
The Dolphins opened the game by hanging seven unanswered on FIU, but the rest of the first quarter would be a battle. After 10 minutes, Jacksonville led 14-9, with nine of their points coming from leading scorer Jasmyn Brown. Jacksonville also managed to force four turnover during the first quarter and hold the Panthers to 26.7 percent from the floor.
The second quarter was highlighted by a 15-0 run that put the Dolphins up by as much as 20 points. 12 of those 15 points came from Hayes. The Dolphins were also able to hold FIU to just four buckets in the second, and 25 percent shooting. By the half, the Dolphins held a 15 point lead.
After a slow start to the third, both teams began to heat up again. The Dolphins added 20 to their total, with Hayes accounting for seven of them. Meanwhile, the Panthers added 15, but Jacksonville entered the final quarter holding a 20 point advantage.
The fourth quarter was the strongest for FIU as they opened with a 12-4 run of their own. The Panthers converted 44.4 percent of their field goals and outscored the Dolphins 25-16. However, Jacksonville was able to hold them off during the final 10 minutes, and never let the deficit shrink below 10.
Hayes led all Dolphins with a career-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting. The Rockledge, Fla. native also provided four assists, while hitting 5-of-6 attempt from three-point range. Brown scored 21 points in her fifth game reaching at least 20 this season. Brown also added six assists and five steals. Kiara Meeks recorded a season-high seven assists, while Trudy Walker grabbed nine rebounds and eight points.
Coach Haney on Hayes' Big Day
"I sat down and talked with her, and I had a really interesting conversation with her about honoring the game, and honoring the talent that she's been given… We needed another push, and it was just on my heart to go ahead and give her a shot. I honored her, and she came out and played with confidence. She played with tenacity, and with that relentless attitude that we need all of our players to play with."
Next, Jacksonville returns home to face Mercer in the final non-conference game on the schedule. Jacksonville is 18-15 all-time against the Bears. That game is scheduled for 2 PM on Wednesday, Jan. 2.