Women’s basketball outlasts Mercer in overtime, 80-78
Junior guard Ashanti Williams hit double-figures, while the Dolphin seniors each finished with a double-double to lead the JU women’s basketball team past Mercer, 80-78, in overtime on Monday night in Macon, Ga.

Williams was one of three Dolphins (9-9, 4-5 A-Sun) with 14 points, including the game-winning basket for JU in overtime. Senior forward Tansekei Richardson (14 points, 10 rebounds), senior guard GiGi Thomas (14 points, 11 rebounds) and senior forward Lynsey Paschal (12 points, 16 rebounds) all finished with double-doubles to help the Dolphins.

Briana Williams put the Bears (1-17, 1-8) on her back after finishing with a game-best 41 points in the loss.

“We found a way to win,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn. “We didn’t play our best game, but we had several people set up and contribute. I was proud of the way we fought for that win and we are looking forward to building on it for our matchup against North Florida.”

In the second half, the Bears cut a 13-point JU deficit to one with a 16-2 run, capped on a layup by Williams to make it 57-56 (10:41). The game would seesaw back and forth for the final 10 minutes before junior guard Jessica George put JU up 72-70 with a jumper at 2:33.

Williams would miss the next three free throws for Mercer, but was able to connect on a layup underneath the basket to tie the game at 72 all (1:26). Mercer would get two possessions in the final 20 seconds, including having the clock reset after a malfunction, but JU recorded a block and got the loose ball to force overtime.

In overtime, Mercer pulled ahead by a bucket with a fast break layup by Williams, but the Dolphins retook the lead on free throws and a jumper from Williams with less than a minute to go. The Bears turned the ball over in their next possession on a five-shot violation. Williams was fouled and couldn’t capitalize on the 1-&-1 situation. Following a timeout with less than 30 seconds left, the Dolphins forced a Mercer miss and held onto the ball long enough to secure the win.

Brittnee Hazell finished with 16 points for Mercer, while Alex Phillips added eight points.

In the first half, the Dolphins took a 22-17 lead on three-point play from Richardson and a jumper by Paschal at 9:09. Paschal added free throws to extend JU’s lead, but a layup from Hazell capped an 8-2 run to make it a 28-27 deficit (4:22). The Dolphins got a layup from Richardson as well as two three-pointers from freshman guard Abril Peeples to take a 38-32 lead (1:58). Freshman guard Ronisha Mitchell hit a jumper in the final seconds to give the Dolphins a 40-34 advantage at half time.

Junior guard Crystal Bell finished her night with nine points for JU and Peeples finished with six points in her first action since recovering from injury last season.

The Dolphins will return to action on Thursday as they travel across the city to face cross-town rival North Florida in UNF Arena at 7 p.m. The matchup will also count towards the annual SunTrust River City Rumble standings.