Women’s basketball drops contest to Long Island, 69-59
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Second-half free throws and a big run helped Long Island knock off the JU women’s basketball team, 69-59, in non-conference action on Thursday night in the Veterans Memorial Arena.

After attempting only three free throws in the first half, the Blackbirds (7-4) hit 25-of-27 attempts in the second half to finish shooting 90 percent (27-30) from the charity stripe to earn the win.

Ashley Palmer paced Long Island with 19 points and 16 rebounds, while Kiara Evans added 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists to help the cause.

“We have to start playing smarter,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn. “There were times when will played well and battled hard, but we would dig ourselves back into the same hole. If we can eliminate the mental mistakes, we can get back on the right track.”

Junior guard Crystal Bell hit double-figures for the third straight game with a team-high 16 points as the Dolphins (6-5) finished shooting 34.3 percent from the floor. Senior forward Lynsey Paschal scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds for JU.

Trailing by five in the second half, Bell hit two buckets for JU, while freshman center Jenae Wilson connected on a free throw to tie the game at 48-48 (10:21). Long Island would push ahead with more free throws before Paschal cut the deficit to 55-51 on a free throw herself at 5:23. It would be the closet the Dolphins would get again as the Blackbirds hit 10 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.

Chelsi Johnson, Krystal Wells and Tamika Guz each finished with eight points for the Blackbirds. Wells also added two steals and two assists.

In the first half, the Blackbirds opened the game on an 11-0 run before Paschal finally broke it with a put back on a missed three pointer (15:21). Less than four minutes later, Evans gave Long Island a 16-8 lead with a three-point play. The Dolphins finally hit their stride with an 14-3 run capped by an three-pointer by sophomore guard Maggie Wilson to take an 22-19 advantage (5:36). Long Island regained the lead at halftime, 30-29, after Wells nailed a three-pointer to beat the shot clock during the final minute.

Senior guard GiGi Thomas finished with nine points for the Dolphins, while senior forward Taneskei Richardson and freshman guard Ciara McLee each tallied seven points.

The Dolphins dive back into A-Sun play on Sunday when they play Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C. at 5 p.m.