Women’s hoops falls to ETSU, 65-54
Junior forward Desarae Johnson
Junior forward Desarae Johnson
Junior forward Desarae Johnson scored a team-high 14 points to go with four blocks but the Dolphins as a whole could never get into sync as the JU women’s basketball team fell to ETSU, 65-54, Thursday evening at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (11-9, 7-4) dropped its fifth-consecutive game to the Lady Bucs after shooting a game-low 36.2 percent and committing a game-high 23 turnovers.

ETSU (12-7, 10-1) increased its cushion on top of the A-Sun by winning the battle of the boards (46-36), which led to a 15 second-chance points, while also tallying a game-high 20 steals.

“We started out with a lot of energy and fed off our crowd in the first five minutes, but we never found a consistent rhythm tonight,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn. “ETSU is the defending champion and they played like it. We made several mental errors and they took advantage of them.”

After cutting the deficit to 40-34 with a pair of free throws by senior guard Regina Omoite (16:33), the Lady Bucs went on a 20-6 run to lead by a game-high 20 points (60-40) at the 7:46 mark. The Dolphins would attempt a late run, cutting the margin to 10 (64-54) with 1:09 left, but missed on a two consecutive possessions.

Johnson led the Dolphins after connecting on 7-of-12 shots from the field while also grabbing six rebounds. Junior guard Courtney Jackson rounded out the JU scoring with 11 points while also tallying six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Junior center Danielle Gray finished with a team-high eight boards.

TaRonda Wiles led all scorers with 22 points on 11-of-21 shooting while Siarre Evans added 18 points. Latisha Belcher tallied game highs with 13 rebounds and five steals while Gwen Washington chipped in with eight points and 10 boards.

In the first half, JU jumped out to an early 7-2 with a free throw by junior forward Crystal Grable (18:10) but ETSU answered with a 9-0 run to take an 11-7 lead (15:25). After Johnson tied the contest with consecutive baskets (14:14), the Lady Bucs used a 9-2 run to open up a 20-13 advantage on a jumper by Wiles (10:42). ETSU increased the margin to 30-15 with a 10-2 run (6:30) but JU slowly chipped away at the lead and made it a 38-30 deficit at the half after a jumper by Johnson with 10 seconds left.

JU will complete the week at Swisher Gymnasium on Saturday against USC Upstate at 1 p.m. The contest can be seen live on ASun.TV.