Women’s hoops holds off SMU, 67-65, in first day of South Padre Island Shootout
Junior guard Courtney Jackson tallied 22 points for the second straight game.
Junior guard Courtney Jackson tallied 22 points for the second straight game.
Junior guard Courtney Jackson kept her hot shooting touch going by nailing a career-high five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points while the Dolphins held off a late run by the Mustangs as the JU women’s basketball team defeated SMU, 67-65, in the first day of the South Padre Island Shootout on Friday evening at the Convention Centre.

JU (4-5), which earned its second win against a Conference USA program, shot .431 from the floor while also winning the battle of the boards (41-33).

SMU (4-6) forced the Dolphins into a game-high 17 turnovers and shot a game-high .439 from the field but connected on only 12-of-21 free throw attempts.

Leading 60-50 with 4:17 remaining, SMU used a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to four points with a jumper by Christine Elliott (3:27). A jumper by junior forward Desarae Johnson put the Dolphins ahead 62-56 with 3:10 left and the Mustangs would only get a free throw by Elliott (1:38) for the next two minutes.

A jumper by Delisha Willis cut the deficit to 62-59 with 25 seconds left but JU would get a free throw by senior guard DaVina Hamilton (:19) and a pair of free throws by Jackson (:12) to make it 65-59.

Jillian Samuels made it interesting by hitting a 3-pointer with six seconds remaining but a free throw by Hamilton made it 66-62 with four seconds on the clock. The Mustangs committed a loose ball foul with less than a second to put Jackson on the line. Jackson connected on the second attempt and SMU’s desperation throw-in was knocked down to end the game.

“This is a big win for us because we played a complete game,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn. “We got out to our normal fast start and SMU battled back to get the lead, but we hit some big shots and went into halftime with a lead. In the second half, our hustle and rebounding were keys to finishing this game. We have had several times this year where we held a lead and couldn’t hold on. For us to keep our composure and finish tonight is a big step for us.”

Jackson, who has tallied 22 points in back-to-back games, connected on 6-of-12 shots from the field, a career-best 5-of-9 from beyond the arc and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. Senior guard Virginia Gregoire tallied 10 points to go with five rebounds. Hamilton added nine points, junior center Lynsay Paschal had six rebounds and senior guard Regina Omoite chipped in with seven assists and six rebounds.

Brittany Gilliam led the Mustangs with 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. Elliott added 13 points and seven rebounds while Alice Severin chipped in with eight points.

In the first half, JU took an early 16-6 lead after a 3-pointer by Gregoire (14:24). SMU would rally with a 16-2 run to take a 22-18 advantage but JU ended the half with a 15-6 run to take a 33-28 lead into the break.

The Dolphins will next compete in the Championship Game of the South Padre Island Shootout against IUIPU on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. IUPUI defeated Virginia Tech, 64-52, to advance to tomorrows final.