Women's hoops falls in title game to ETSU, 75-72

March 8, 2008

Box Score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The JU women's basketball team saw its best season in program history come to an tragic end on Saturday in a 75-72 loss to ETSU in the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference championship game.

ETSU (21-11) got a game-high 22 points from tournament MVP Latisha Belcher, who scored 15 of those in the first half.

JU (23-9) got 21 points from Ashley Williams, with 15 of those coming in the second half to lead the Dolphins rally from a 16-point halftime deficit.

"This is tough because we played so hard in the second half to get back into the game," said JU head coach Jill Dunn. "I'm so proud of these girls and what they've accomplished, but we're disappointed because we dug such a big hole in the first half."

The Dolphins got 15 points off the bench from Courtney Jackson and 14 from Virginia Gregoire.

After a first half that was dominated by ETSU, from the opening tip to the halftime horn as the Bucs took a 16-point lead, JU came out and showed why it was in the finals, cutting the deficit to eight, 56-48 on basket by Williams with just over seven minutes left in regulation.

Williams sparked the JU scoring effort to get back into the game, getting nine points over a five minute stretch as the Dolphins slowly cut into the deficit.

After the Bucs pushed the lead back to 12 with more than four minutes left, the Dolphins started a frenetic rally - scoring 10 points in a span of 55 seconds. The Dolphins' full-court press created turnovers, wreaked havoc and back-to-back 3-pointers by Jackson cut ETSU's lead to one, 68-67, with 2:16 remaining.

The two teams traded baskets and despite trailing by one over the last two minutes, JU was never able to get the ball with a chance to take the lead as the Bucs were able to keep their lead and held on for the win after a turnover on JU's last possession.

ETSU got 12 points from Siarre Evans and 11 from Kelly Turman off the bench.

The Dolphins struggled in the first half, falling behind 12-5 in the opening minutes and trailed by 16 at the intermission, 40-24. JU hit just 9-of-39 from the floor, including a 1-for-9 mark from behind the arc.

East Tennessee State went to its post for scoring in the first half, getting 15 points from Belcher and eight rebounds from TaRonda Wiles. Aiding the Lady Bucs effort was the balance in scoring, as eight of the 10 players scored, with the starting five racking up 33 of the 40 points.

JU's 16-point deficit at the half was the second largest of the season. Only one other time had JU been double digits at the halfway point in a game, trailing at Belmont by 19 on Feb. 11.

For their efforts, Williams and Hamilton were named to the all-tournament from JU.