Women’s hoops downs Mercer in home finale, 64-61
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Seniors Lynsey Paschal, GiGi Thomas and Taneseki Richardson each left it all on the court in their final home game to lead the JU women’s basketball team past Mercer, 64-61, on Sunday afternoon at the Veterans Memorial Arena.

Paschal scored a career-best 20 points for the second time this season to lead the Dolphins (13-14, 8-10 A-Sun), while Thomas finished with 15 points and two steals. Richardson added another double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

“We were led by our seniors in their final game,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn. “They put the team on their shoulders and helped us get the victory in the end. We want keep building on this momentum for next week as well.”

Brittnee Hazel led the Bears (2-25, 2-16) with 17 points as the squad finished shooting 39.4 from the floor (26-66) in the contest. The Dolphins survived a bad first half, 28.1 percent, from the floor to go 15-for-42 in the second half. JU also won the rebounding battle (54-40) and scored 38 points in the paint.

Trailing by 10 to start the second half, the Dolphins used a 10-2 run, capped by a Thomas three-pointer, for a 37-35 lead (17:21). The Bears regained the lead and built a five-point advantage, 52-47, on a layup by Sharena Boykin at 10:13. Freshman Jade Cargill and Richardson answered with layups, while Paschal hit two free throws to give JU a 53-52 lead (4:36).

Consecutive layups by Thomas with less than four minutes left helped break the sixth tie of the game for a 59-57 lead (3:33). The Bears cut it to one on a jumper by Ariel Barnes in the final 10 seconds, but junior Jessica George added two free throws to secure the win.

Barnes finished with 13 points, while Briana Williams was held to nine points after scoring 41 points in the first meeting.

In the first half, the Dolphins came away with a 15-11 lead on jumper by Paschal at 10:48. Boykin gave the Bears a 17-16 advantage less than four minutes later on a free throw. Freshman guard Ronisha Mitchell had a jumper to cut the JU deficit to one at 3:56 before Mercer closed the half on a 13-7 stretch, capped on a Williams jump shot, to take a 33-26 lead at half.

Mitchell and junior guard Crystal Bell each finished with six points for JU.

The Dolphins return to action on Thursday against Florida Gulf Coast in Fort, Meyers, Fla. Tipoff is set for 5:15 p.m.