Women’s basketball downs USC Upstate, 87-75
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The JU women’s basketball team used a strong second half to defeat USC Upstate, 87-75, on Monday night in Atlantic Sun Conference action at Swisher Gymnasium.

The Dolphins (8-8, 3-4 A-Sun) shot 50 percent or better in the second half from the floor (15-30), beyond the arc (5-10) and charity stripe (14-20) to come away with the victory.

Senior guard GiGi Thomas scored 17 points to pace four JU players in double figures, while junior guard Ashanti Williams added 16 points and six assists. Senior forward Taneskei Richardson had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Crystal Bell hit double-figures off the bench for the fourth straight game with 13 points.

“This was a solid win tonight,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn. “We felt like we could do better at halftime and made it a point in the second half to come out strong. Our team answered the challenge and we were able to get the well-deserved win.”

Tee’Ara Copney scored 24 points to lead the Spartans (7-9, 4-3), who dropped their third straight conference game. Chelsea McMillan scored 14 points and pulled down eight boards in the losing effort.

In the second half, junior guard Jessica George broke the eighth tie of the evening with a three-pointer to give the Dolphins a 52-49 lead at 12:54. JU dialed up more three pointers as sophomore guard Maggie Wilson added two and Thomas hit another during three straight trips to take a 64-55 advantage (8:39). McMillan closed the gap to four points, 64-60, with a layup less than a minute later. The Spartans used a layup from Kyana Jacobs to cut the lead to 72-66 (3:24), but Richardson hit a layup herself on the next trip to push the JU lead back to eight points.

In the final two minutes, Copney had a three-pointer and Jacobs added another layup to make it a two possession game for USC Upstate (81-75, 1:16), but the Dolphins hit six straight free throws to quash any comeback.

Jacobs recorded 12 points and 10 assists off the bench for USC Upstate, while Kendra Wallace scored 10 points to round out the Spartans in double figures.

The first half was back and forth early before the Spartans pulled away with a 25-17 lead on a layup by Christine Nyobe at 9:22. The Dolphins found their shooting stroke with a 17-3 run, capped by a layup by Richardson, to take a 34-28 advantage (4:02). A layup by Copney closed out seven unanswered points for the Spartans to regain the lead at 35-34 with less than two minutes left in the half. Freshman guard Jade Cargill and Thomas added points for JU in the final minutes of play before USC Upstate scored a couple of free throws to leave the game tied at 38 for half time.

Wilson tallied nine points in the win, while Cargill finished with eight points, four rebounds and two steals for the Dolphins. Senior forward Lynsey Paschal contributed with seven points.

The Dolphins return to the road this weekend when they face Kennesaw State in Kennesaw, Ga. on Saturday at 5 p.m.