Women's hoops takes South Padre Island Shootout title with 59-56 win over IUPUI
Senior guard Regina Omoite
Senior guard Regina Omoite
It was another team effort for the Dolphins in the state of Texas as the JU women’s basketball team defeated IUPUI, 59-56, in the Championship Game of the South Padre Island Shootout on Saturday evening at the Convention Centre.

JU (5-5) found a way to hold on in its second consecutive game by scoring 22 points off of 24 Jaguar turnovers while tallying 12 second chance points, 12 steals and 15 fast-break points.

IUPUI (6-5) won the rebounding battle (36-32) but connected on only 2-of-12 shots from beyond the arc and committed costly mistakes at the end of the contest.

With JU leading by nine points (53-44) with 4:33 remaining, IUPUI used a 9-0 (which included a 3-pointer and a four-point play in back-to-back possessions) to even the contest with 3:15 remaining. The Dolphins answered with a 4-1 run, after a pair of free throws by senior guards DaVina Hamilton and Regina Omoite, to take a 57-53 lead with 2:13 left.

The Jaguars cut the margin to 57-56 with a layup by Jernisha Cann at the two minute mark but the Dolphins forced a miss on their next possession. After a miss by JU, IUPUI broke out and had Brittany Ransom open to the lane off of a long pass. As she caught the ball, she shuffled her feet to give possession back to the Dolphins with 28 seconds remaining. The Jaguars were forced to foul and Hamilton hit two free throws with four seconds left to put JU up 59-56. Junior forward Desarae Johnson would intercept the desperation throw-in to ice the game.

“This has been an unbelievable weekend for us,” said JU head coach. “We’ve been trying to find out who we are in the first part of the year and now I think we are starting to find our identity. We are at our best when everyone is contributing on each end of the floor and this weekend was proof of that. We have a lot of confidence right now and hopefully this momentum will carry over to the rest of our season.”

Junior guard Courtney Jackson, who was named tournament MVP, tallied 11 points, six rebounds and two steals. Hamilton also finished with 11 points after connecting on 5-of-6 free throws to help seal the game. Omoite added 10 points while junior center Lynsay Paschal chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Virginia Gregoire was also named to the all-tournament team.

Julia Whitted led the Jaguars with 21 points after shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line. Cann added 14 points and game highs with 13 rebounds and four steals.

In the first half, JU took an early 15-8 lead after a 3-pointer by Omoite (15:26) and would increase the margin to 20-12 with a jumper by Omoite (13:18). The Jaguars would rally behind a 10-1 run to open a 24-21 advantage after a layup by Cann (6:07). The Dolphins would end the half with a 10-2 run to take a 31-26 lead into the break.

JU will take the week off before ending its non-conference schedule on the road against South Carolina on Dec. 30 at 3 p.m.